one of this ever happened. However, for those of you keeping score at home, the events roughly (and I mean roughly) follow the events depicted in Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, which was the fifth and final season of the original Japanese series. As for continuity within the Daria: The OAVs series, this story takes place after the events of Triumph of the "Retart". Further, the original Japanese civilian identities of the Sailor Senshi are used, in Oriental order (i.e. family name first) as well as all other Japanese characters depicted in this story.
Almost all aircraft depicted in this story have been checked with the publication Aircraft of the World: The Complete Guide (Pittsburgh: International Masters Publishers, 1996-present; series of factsheets published every three weeks). The sole exception is the Mitsubishi Neo-Zero, which is a complete creation of the author.
This story has been re-edited to conform to some character development that had happened within the actual Daria series since this story was first written in 1998. This story was written before the events of September 11, 2001, and I urge the readers of this story to take the story within the context of the times it was written in.
All Bishojo Senshi Sailor Moon and related characters are © 1992,1998 Naoko Takeuchi/Kodansha/Toei Animation Co., Ltd./DIC Enterprises LP.
All Daria and related characters are © 1993, 1997, 1998 MTV Networks. All Rights Reserved.
All other characters depicted are my creation. So there.
"Morning Has Broken": Traditional lyrics by Elinor Ferjoen. Musical arrangement by Cat Stevens. © 1972 EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Appearing on Cat Stevens' album Teaser and the Firecat on A&M CD's and cassettes.
"Ty Cobb": lyrics by Chris Cornell; music by Ben Shepherd. © 1996 You Make Me Sick I Make Music (ASCAP)/Stupidditties (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Appearing on the Soundgarden album Down on the Upside on A&M CD's and cassettes.
"Black Hole Sun": lyrics and music by Chris Cornell. © 1994 You Make Me Sick I Make Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Appearing on the Soundgarden album Superunknown on A&M CD's and cassettes.
"Monk Time", "I Hate You" and "Complication": written by Gary Burger, Larry Clark, Dave Day, Roger Johnston and Eddie Shaw. © 1965 Monk Time Publishing (BMI); administered by Bug Music. All Rights Reserved. Appearing on the Monks album Black Monk Time on Infinite Zero Archive CD's. Distributed by American Recordings.
"The Star Spangled Banner": words by Francis Scott Key; sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith.
"Kimigayo": words selected from the seventh volume of Kokinshu dating from AD 9th Century; English translation by Sakuzo Takada; Music by Hiromori Hayashi.
"Tusk": Lyrics and music by Lindsey Buckingham. © 1979 New Sounds Music (ASCAP). All Rights Reserved. Appearing on the Fleetwood Mac album Tusk on Warner Bros. CD's and cassettes.
This story is dedicated to my mother's favorite author, Tom Clancy. This story may be a bit evocative of his style, so please bear with me.
How high can you fly?
You'll never, never, never reach the sky!"
--Eric Burden, The Animals, "Sky Pilot"
Good God, you all!
What's it any good for?
Say it again!"
--Edwin Starr, Edwin Starr's Rising Starr, "War"
"Though force can protect in an emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace."
--Dwight David Eisenhower, General, U. S. Army, later President of the United States
huge crowd had gathered in the mass meeting room of Sumito Heavy Industries for what was expected to be a brief pep rally before the start of the day's business. All were clad in the same blue suits typical of Japanese businessmen in Shinjuku, the business district of Tokyo. At one end was a platform were the top executives of the company were seated as well as a podium for speaking. However, it was the banner affixed to the wall that was unusual: a brown octopus on a white disc on a red field.
At once, everyone's attention was focused on the podium as one of the persons on the platform rose to speak. However, this was not one of the executives; she was an "OL", or office lady. But no other "OL" like her existed in Japan. Yoriko was tall and statuesque, and was well-proportioned with ample bust, slender hips, long legs and short, black hair. Banging the gavel, she called the meeting to order.
"I know that we have much work to do, so I will keep this brief," said Amazana Yoriko. "I have glorious news that will gladden the hearts of everyone in our organization. We think the Neo-Zero prototype will be ready for its first test flight by month's end. Ryu, our intelligence officer, will explain."
The podium was yielded to Chang Ryu, a man of unusually handsome qualities due to his mixed Chinese-Korean-Japanese ancestry. He was about six and a half feet tall with brown hair. Ryu was a master of many martial arts disciplines, holding black belts in judo, tae kwan do, kung fu, karate, and kendo, or Japanese fencing. Only a few months ago he resigned as a priest of the legendary Shaolin Temple to be involved in what Sumito termed "Project Iron Fist."
Ryu started to speak in his clear, enthusiastic voice:
"I've been checking the progress of the prototype, and most ground tests have been completed. It is expected that the prototype will be fitted with a full compliment of Sidewinder missiles for target practice; once they are loaded, we will launch our plan to hijack the prototype and start our attack on Tokyo. Once we have the civilian government in submission, the New Imperial Rule Assistance Association will embark on a new era for Japan, and once again we will earn the respect of the world. All hail to our leader, Amazana Yoriko. BANZAI!!!!!!!!!!"
After five shouts of "BANZAI!!!!!!!!!!", the meeting adjourned. Yoriko went back to her office, where Dr. Helmut Vander Helffen was awaiting her; he looked middle-aged with black hair and spectacles; he was wearing a brown double-breasted suit.
"It's time for your next pill," was all he said.
Tsukino Ikuko was doing what she usually did every morning: trying to get her oldest daughter Usagi out of bed:
"Usagi, you lazy bastard! Get out of bed now!"
Luna, Usagi's pet cat, was jolted out of her sleep by Ikuko's yelling. She hissed and scratched Usagi's nose.
"OW!!!!!!!!!!", shrieked Usagi.
"Usagi! It's time to get up for school!," began Luna. "You are so lazy it's pathetic!"
"I already have Mom on my case, Luna," shrieked Usagi; "I don't need to hear it from you as well!"
With a deft movement, Usagi took off her pajamas and raced to her closet--wearing nothing but her panties--to grab a bra. She began to pack up her briefcase.
"You know, I think that peeping Tom from across the street is looking at you again!", chuckled Luna.
Usagi shrieked and drew down the curtains.
"Luna, you really get on my nerves at times," yelled Usagi at Luna.
Luna replied, "Hey, I deserve a good laugh once in a while!"
Kenji, Ikuko's husband, and their son, Shingo, were already at the breakfast table. Kenji was reading the "Yorimuri Shimbun" when he noticed an interesting article.
"Hey, what about those Giants!," he exclaimed; "one more win and they clinch the Japan Series!"
"Wonderful, dear," was all his wife said rather abstractly.
"Man, Usagi's gonna get it big time from Ms. Sakurada if she's late again," Shingo proclaimed.
As if to confirm that remark, Usagi ran downstairs, clad in her seifuku, gulped down a glass of milk, wolfed down a piece of toast, and dashed out the door like the devil before anyone noticed. She was several steps down the road when a car horn blared, and a familiar red car pulled up besides her.
"Usagi! Get in! It's the only way you'll make it on time for your first class!," a voice shouted to her.
Usagi knew that voice rather well. It was her boyfriend, Chiba Mamoru. As Usagi got in, she noticed two other persons in the car: her friend Mizuno Ami, the smartest student in class, and Chiba-Usa, Usagi and Mamoru's daughter from the future. Chiba-Usa had spent the night at Ami's house.
"Running late again, I see," Chiba-Usa said in her holier-than-thou attitude.
"Put a sock in it, Chiba-Usa!", replied Usagi.
"Usagi, you should really get up earlier," Ami started. "It's part of doing well in school."
"Ami's got a point there, Usako," Mamoru added. "Your grades aren't that great. With the big exams coming up, you've got to do better."
"Speaking of tests," Ami said, "I figure you'd be the first ones to learn about some exciting news I got yesterday."
"What?," Usagi asked.
"I found out that I've been accepted for my pre-med studies in Germany," gushed Ami; "At long last, I can begin my studies to become a pediatrician like my mother! I leave in four days."
Usagi was at first speechless.
"Congratulations!," Mamoru said. "I know that you've been looking forward to this for a long time."
"But what about the Sailor Senshi?," Usagi said as she recovered from the shock of the announcement. "You're the brains of the team!"
"Not to worry, Usagi," Ami began. "I've got that covered. Luna and Artemis have been working on transferring my powers to another person. The Sailor Senshi will still be at full strength while I'm gone."
"Who do you have in mind?," Chibi-Usa asked.
"Let's just say that she's as intelligent as I am," Ami teased.
The calls to prayer wafted in the air in Beirut. In a nondescript building, however, there was something sinister afoot. The local branch of Islamic Jihad was meeting to formulate their next terrorist attack.
The Imam Al-Kabaz, the leader of the branch, was clad in a black robe and had a long black beard. He arose to speak.
"It is time to strike fear into the heart of the Great Satan!" he began; "In four days will be the great football game between Highland and Lawndale High Schools. We will seize control of the JAL flight from Tokyo to Berlin, divert it to Lawndale and blow up a nuclear device as the plane flies over the football field." The Imam turned to Akbar el‑Salaam, a grungy Palestinian in combat fatigues, and said, "Brother Akbar, it is Allah's will that you carry out this mission. You will leave on the next flight to Tokyo in about an hour. ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!!"
The cries of "ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!!" were repeated twenty times running.
He can still remember it all like it was just yesterday. It was one of those memories you can't really shake off.
He was on patrol in the Sea of Japan, off the coast of Sakhalin Island. He was squadron leader for a flight of five F-4EJ Phantom II jet fighters for the Japan Air Self Defense Force. The Phantom jets were showing their age but were still a reliable part of the force. So far, it had been a pretty routine patrol.
Suddenly, one of the pilots radioed him:
"Maverick to Dragon, I've picked up something on the radar. It looks like a Soviet Su-17." Dragon was the squadron leader's code name.
"Roger, Maverick," responded the squadron leader; "let's take a look. As long as they're on their side of the border, we shouldn't expect any hostilities."
"Roger, Dragon.", replied the first pilot.
The squadron approached the location of the Su-17. However, it turned out that this was no ordinary patrol. A Korean Airlines 747 had somehow entered Soviet airspace. An international incident was in the making.
"Dragon to Ginzu, find out what the Hell's going on here!," said the squadron leader to another pilot.
The second pilot replied, "Ginzu to Dragon, I've got them fixed on radar. I do know some Russian. The MiG's issuing a warning to the KAL craft to clear out of Soviet space. He's threatening to fire."
Was it time to take action? Every member of the SDF had been instructed from day one that Article 9 of the Constitution clearly stated that Japan was not to wage war. But now everyone in the squad faced a dilemma: Do nothing and see hundreds perish, or attack and risk international condemnation if they were wrong?
"Ginzu," the squadron leader ordered, "inform the MiG pilot that if he fires weapons, our government will file a protest with the United Nations."
Tense moments passed.
"Dragon, he's ignoring me," was the second pilot's reply.
The next thing everyone saw was that the Su-17 fired an air-to-air missile, blowing the KAL plane out of existence!
"This is Dragon to all units! Return to base!," sharply ordered the squadron leader. "We don't want to risk a dogfight with the Su-17!"
Clearly as much as everyone wanted to avenge what they had just seen, Article 9 was to be honored at all times.
When they had landed back at the base, news had already reached everyone about what happened. An airman approached the squad leader and handed him a list.
"Lieutenant Torymura, you may want to see this; it's the list of passengers," the airman said to him.
He took a quick look, and his stomach turned when he noticed two names on the list.
"Poor Makoto," was all he said.
A subsequent investigation cleared Lt. Torymura and his squadron of negligence. Now a general, Torymura Keiichi was in charge of the Neo-Zero project. He sat there at his desk, in his dress green uniform, his hair grayed with the cares of a long military career and time-carved wrinkles over his skin. But he's still haunted by the awful memories of what happened fifteen years ago. If only he--
A knock on the door interrupted his train of thought. Someone entered his office. It was Ryu, now wearing a vermilion martial artist's outfit.
"General, this is Special Agent Chang," he said. "I know when the NIRAA will attempt to steal the prototype."
By Japanese standards, this was a rather brash way to start a campaign in a by‑election. Streamers were all over the banquet hall, as well as posters, all with the same slogan: "Nagai Kenji: For a New and Better Japan." Nagai was already governor of Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture; he had stunned everyone at the last gubernatorial election by winning the post running as a member of the Komeito, or Clean Government Party, which had the backing of the Soka Gakki sect of Buddhism. Now, he was in the most ambitious campaign of his life: he was seeking the vacant seat for Tokyo-to in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Japanese Diet. His youthful looks belied his 45 years, and was wearing a gray flannel suit.
Nagai stepped up to the podium and spoke:
"Ladies and gentlemen: I hereby announce my candidacy for the Komeito nomination for the empty seat in the House of Representatives for Tokyo-to. Our nation faces grave problems as we near the new millennium. Business as usual in our government--fostered by a Liberal Democratic government that has been in control for over forty years--has led us to this crisis. We have been the envy of East Asia--indeed in what is still called the Third World--for turning so rapidly from an isolated, backwards nation to one of the most modern, most technologically advanced societies ever seen in human history. It would be a shame that we, as a beacon of hope to those less developed, be extinguished ourselves. We need new voices; we need fresh blood; we need to admit our mistakes of the past; we must lend a hand to those nations less fortunate than ourselves. Reforms must be made in our economy so that everyone that benefits can still do and even include the small minority that do not. We must be more open and honest in trade with our international neighbors. We must turn Japan around before it's too late, and I am the man to do it!"
The crowd roared its approval.
Lawndale was just one of your typical suburban American communities. At one rather well-appointed house lived the Morgendorffers. It was just after dinner and eldest daughter Daria had just went to her room; it was pretty unusual because its walls were mostly padded, a holdover from the previous owners, who kept their crazy aunt in there. Posters of a bleached skeleton in the desert and of exetensionalist author Franz Kafka adorned the walls. Daria had just logged on the Internet. Jane Lane, Daria's best friend, was sitting on Daria's bed.
"You've got mail!," chirped the computer.
"And you've got a stick up your ass!," quipped Daria in reply.
Jane snickered and then spat out, "That was a good one, Daria! You go, girl!"
Daria looked at her e-mail messages. Some of it was spam for hair tonic, get-rich-quick schemes, and pornography. There even was one sick individual who wanted a downloadable picture of Daria in her underwear.
"That pervert!," Daria stated, " Who does he think I am, Linda Lovelace?"
Jane shot back, "He probably confused you for some porno star."
"Look at this one, Jane," said Daria in amazement.
"Who's it from?," Jane inquired.
Daria responded, "It's from my friend in Japan, Ami."
"What does it say?," Jane wanted to know.
Daria began to read it:
"It says: 'Come here quickly. This is important. I can't tell you here. I'll explain everything when you arrive.'"
"Better be careful, Daria," cautioned Jane, "Sometimes these Internet-initiated face-to-face meetings get kinky."
Daria replied, "Jane, Ami is not some pervert. We're both smart; we're both unappreciated with our classmates, and we both have to put up with geeks."
"You mean Japan has its own version of Upchuck?," said Jane in amazement.
"Yep. His name is Gurio," Daria said; "The sick part is he's got a rather pretty, good-natured girlfriend named Naru."
"Better call 'Sick Sad World' and tell them you've got a scoop for them!," snickered Jane.
"Well, we'd better tell Mom and Dad about this," stated Daria.
The entire Morgendorffer family was gathered in the living room. Jake and Helen, Daria's parents, were on the couch while Daria, Jane and Quinn, Daria's sister, were on another couch next to the adjacent wall. Quinn was wearing that stupid smiley face T-shirt and her red miniskirt she once wore to seduce Kevin Thompson, the star quarterback for Lawndale High.
"Quinn, if that skirt had a slit in it, people would compare you Ashley Judd," Daria said.
"Daria! Give me a break!," Quinn replied.
"Anyway, your friend Ami wants you to go see her in Tokyo right away, Daria?", Helen asked.
"Yes, she did, Mom," was Daria's response.
"This is rather unusual, Daria," said Helen in concern; "You'll miss the big game against Highland."
"Oh, whoopee!," shot back Daria; "I'll just miss my old nemeses Beavis and Butt-Head. I hated it when those two called me 'Diarrhea, cha-cha-cha!'".
"Oh, Daria, boys will be boys!," Jake answered. "Heck, I probably didn't do any worse than they did when I was their age."
"Jake, how dare you defend those two!," Helen roared. "Those two are so perverted they make Larry Flint look like Mahatma Gandhi!"
"But, Honey--," began Jake
Helen silenced him by roaring, "SHUT UP, JAKE!!!!!!!!!!"
"Yes, Dear!," was Jake's meekish reply.
"Well, I guess if it's OK with the school," Helen said, "it's OK with me. I always thought going to foreign countries helps to broaden one's horizons."
"I think there's an opening in our foreign exchange program, Mom. I'll ask," Daria replied.
"Oh, Honey, you're going to like this!," Helen said.
"Then again, I could live to regret it," warned Daria.
"What will happen if Beavis and Butt-Head notice that you're not at the game? They'll pick on me! What will I do?," Quinn shrieked.
"Keep your legs crossed," Daria sneered.
Jane snickered sinisterly over that remark.
At an underground bunker right beneath the Lawndale Gun Club, the Lawndale Militia was meeting. Anthony Corlew, the commander, rose to speak.
"Gee, Commander, what are we going to do tonight?", asked a member named Poindexter.
"The same thing we do every night, Poindexter: Try to take over Lawndale!," said Anthony.
With that out of the way, he continued:
"'Operation In Your Face' is proceeding as scheduled. As everyone knows, the whole town will turn out for the big game against Highland. During that time, we will launch a blitzkrieg attack and take over city hall, the police station and the courthouse. We will strike at half-time. We've got all our firepower ready. In four days, Lawndale will be ours!"
Roars of approval echoed throughout the bunker.
Nakajimi Tetsuo was going down a street in Shinjuku. He was about five and a half feet tall with raven black hair and wore a dark blue suit. He had a good job as a stockbroker, but visions of a terrible past still haunted him:
"We are the Mecha-Dominion! We will absorb your world into our realm! Rebellion against us is useless!" Then the screams of slaughter.
But now a new, more terrible vision filled his mind. A jet fighter coming out of nowhere. Missiles firing at landmark buildings. Fire everywhere. Bodies scattered in every direction.
Tetsuo stopped. "Tokyo is in danger!," he exclaimed.
awndale International Airport was kind of lonely at this time of day. Except for a few Hare Krishnas here and there, not too many people were in the lobby.
"Now, Daria, did you pack some clean underwear like I asked you to?," Helen asked.
"Yes, Mother," Daria answered
"Daria," Quinn asked, "Could you bring back one of those kimonos for me, please?"
"Quinn," Daria stated, those kimonos are pretty damn expensive."
"Pretty please?," Quinn whined.
"C'mon, Daria," Jake said, "this is probably going to be the only time you'll ever get to go to Japan."
"OK, OK," Daria said, resignedly; "if I see one at a reasonable price, I'll get one for you."
"Thanks, Daria!," chirped Quinn.
Besides Daria and her family, there was Jane, and the only two friends in Lawndale High School they had, Jodie Landon and Michael Jordan Mackenzie, or Mack for short.
"If there's any airheads at the high school you're going to, Daria, heckle them for me," Jane said. "And see if they've got a Japanese version of Sick, Sad World over there."
"Right," responded Daria.
"Have a nice time over there," Jodie added. "Let me know what you think of the sushi."
"I've got a cousin at an American base not too far from Tokyo. Maybe you can look him up," Mack said as he gave Daria a slip of paper.
"I'll try my best, Mack," Daria answered.
The airport PA system announced that the flight to Tokyo would soon be boarding.
"You'd better get on board, Daria," Helen said.
"Right," Daria said. " Bye, everyone. I'll write often."
With that Daria hugged her family and friends, and went down the gate.
"Man, I really envy Daria right now," Quinn said. "She's going to Japan and I have to go to the big game in three days and put up with Beavis and Butt-Head."
As if there couldn't be anyone dumber than those two, Kevin Thompson, the star quarterback for Lawndale High, and his girlfriend, head cheerleader Brittany Taylor, appeared. Kevin was wearing his football uniform (which he wore everywhere) while Brittany was in her cheerleader uniform, which showed how well endowed (and stupid) she was.
"Hey, what's up, everyone?," Brittany asked as she twirled her hair around her finger.
"Daria just left for Japan," Jake said.
"Hey, I hear Japan's a pretty cool country," Kevin said.
"But not as cool as you, Kevin," gushed Brittany as she hugged Kevin.
"Aw, gee, Cupcake!," Kevin replied. "Anyway, when's the next drill, Mack Daddy?"
"Kevin," Mack said, "For the last time, don't call me 'Mack Daddy'! I hate that name!"
"OOPS!!!!!!!!!! Sorry!", Kevin gasped.
Narita Airport (or New Tokyo International Airport, as it was officially known) was hopping when Daria arrived. Already jet lag was taking its toll on her. She looked like she'd been through a war.
"They're right," Daria muttered to herself, "Airline food is lousy!" She did look disheveled. She didn't sleep too well on the flight. Her hair was a wreck, her olive drab jacket was scrunched up, her black skirt was hiked up, and one of the laces on her combat boots was untied. Just then, she walked right into someone.
"A thousand pardons to you, Madam!," said the stranger.
"Up yours!," Daria yelled back.
Daria didn't know it, but she bumped into the person who was going to nuke Lawndale in three days time.
Akbar went up to a rent-a-car counter and rented a Toyota Corolla 2-door. He then went to a pay phone to book a room at a nearby motel.
"In three days time," Akbar said to himself, "The Great Satan will have his war brought home to him!"
Daria, meanwhile, was surprised to see a chauffeur standing with a card that said "Morgendorffer" on it.
"Are you Ms. Daria Morgendorffer?," asked the chauffeur.
"Yes, and who might you be, the welcoming committee from Hell?"
"Your sense of humor is sharp," the chauffeur said, "but I was sent at the request of Mizuno Ami, your friend. She told me to take you directly to Sendai Hill Shrine. It was important."
"Lead the way," Daria said. "Things couldn't get much worse. After all, the food was lousy, and I didn't sleep well at all."
"Right this way," the chauffeur said.
"Ami," Hino Rei, the miko of Sendai Hill Shrine began to say, "you'd better have a good reason why you asked all of us to be here right now! You interrupted me right in the middle of shrine services!"
"This won't take long," Ami promised. "As you know, in three days, I leave for Germany. However, the Sailor Senshi won't be undermanned. I got someone coming who will take my place while I'm gone."
"This better be worth it," Kino Makoto added, "since the last time you were planning to go to Germany, you changed your mind at the last minute."
"Yeah," Usagi added, "and Mamoru had dumped me!"
"AHEM!!!!!!!!!!," Mamoru cleared his throat.
"OOPS!!!!!!!!!! Sorry!," Usagi gasped.
"I'm pretty sure that the person you will meet will live up to everyone's expectations," Artemis said. "Ami said that she was as smart as she is."
"Great," moaned Aino Minako, "another egghead who prefers curling up with a good book instead of going to the movies with a guy! Don't eggheads like you have lives, Ami?"
"And what do you mean by that remark, Minako?," Ami demanded.
"Now, now, ladies," Luna said, "Let's not get hot under the collar! I'm pretty sure all will work out for the best."
Just then, Daria arrived. She introduced herself rather curtly:
"Hello. My name is Daria Morgendorffer. I'm from Lawndale, USA. I just had one Hell of a flight, my stomach's upset from the airline food, I didn't sleep well, and I've got a short temper. So let's cut the crap and get down to business."
Usagi swallowed with a loud "ULP!!!!!!!!!!"
Ami knew she had to defuse the situation quickly.
"Well, Daria, I'm sorry that your flight didn't go too well," Ami began to say; "Please, let me introduce you to my friends. The one with the long blonde ponytails is Tsukino Usagi. The black-haired lady in the white robe and red hakama is Hino Rei, the miko of this shrine. The girl with the auburn ponytail is Kino Makoto. The other blonde with the bow in her hair is Aino Minako. The girl with long dark green hair is Meiou Setsuna. The one with the short, dirty blond hair is Ten'ou Haruka. The girl with the green hair is Kaiou Michiru. The lady with the short black hair is Tomoe Horatu. The little girl with pink hair is Chibi-Usa. The guy with black hair is Chiba Mamoru. The black cat is Luna, and the white one is Artemis."
A less-than-enthusiastic "Hello" issued from everyone.
"I see this is going to be a tough crowd," Daria said.
"OK, Usagi," Ami said, "I guess you should let Daria know our secret."
Usagi drew a deep breath and began:
"Daria, what if I told you that everything is not as it seems here?"
"You dragged me all the way here to tell me something I already know?," shot back Daria, sarcastically. "What a gyp!"
"Trust me on this one," Usagi continued, "what if I told you that a thousand years ago we all lived on the Moon as members of the Royal Court of the Moon Kingdom?"
Daria groaned, "Beam me up, Scotty, this planet is going to Hell in a handbasket!"
"C'mon, Daria, I'm being serious here!," continued Usagi; "You see, a thousand years ago Queen Beryl and her Dark Kingdom destroyed the Moon Kingdom and my mother, Queen Serenity. We were sent to Earth and reincarnated so we could protect the Earth from the Dark Kingdom and all other threats. We defeated the Dark Kingdom, Ail and Ann, the Wiseman and the Four Sisters, the Death Busters, the Black Moon Circus, and--most recently--Sailor Galaxia. You see, we are the Sailor Senshi you may have heard about in the news. I'm Sailor Moon; Ami's Sailor Mercury; Rei's Sailor Mars; Mako's Sailor Jupiter; Minako's Sailor Venus; Chibi-Usa's Sailor Chibi-Moon; Setsuna's Sailor Pluto; Haruka's Sailor Uranus; Michiru's Sailor Neptune; Hotaru's Sailor Saturn; Mamoru's Tuxedo Mask, and Luna and Artemis can talk."
Daria began to sarcastically hum the theme from The Twilight Zone.
"Daria," Luna said, "I will not allow you to act sarcastically! That is not the proper way for a Sailor Senshi to behave! This is a serious situation you're in. Let Ami explain."
"Daria," Ami said "as you know, I have to leave for my medical studies in Germany in three days. Someone has to take my place as Sailor Mercury while I'm gone. I think you're the best person there is."
Daria shot back, "First, you cook up some cockamamie story about being recreated from some Moon Kingdom, now I have talking cats to deal with. Is this 'Candid Camera', and if so, where's Allan Funt?"
"Daria," Luna replied, "believe me, I know this is kind of difficult for you to take, but at first we didn't know if this would be feasible, since you weren't around during the Silver Millennium. But I think it can be done. Ami, give me your power stick."
Ami handed it to Luna; she then gave it to Daria.
Luna continued, "Now, the both of you hold on to my tail". They both did, and Ami's Sailor Mercury powers left her and entered Daria.
"I didn't notice a damn difference," sneered Daria.
"Now, hold the power stick up high and say 'SUPER MERCURY STAR POWER, MAKE‑UP!!!!!!!!!!,'" said Luna.
"OK, but I don't think anything is going to happen," was Daria's curt reply.
Daria held the power stick like it was some moldy breadstick the local pizzeria back at Lawndale was giving away, and said "SUPER MERCURY STAR POWER, MAKE‑UP!!!!!!!!!!". Immediately, Daria had the sensation that someone had ripped her clothes off. "Great, now the whole damn world can see I've got small breasts!", she muttered to herself. As soon as the transformation was complete, and Daria was in Sailor Mercury's seirafuku costume, everyone knew that the transfer was successful.
"Congratulations, Daria! You're now the new Sailor Mercury!," Usagi blushed. She motioned Daria to a nearby mirror. Daria took one look.
"I hate this seirafuku," Daria replied; "it looks frumpy on me! I want something else!"
"Daria," Luna said, "this is the uniform of the Sailor Senshi. Wear it with pride."
Daria stepped on Luna's tail in response; Luna gave out a loud "ROWR!!!!!!!!!!".
"UP YOURS!!!!!!!!!!," Daria bickered.
"I don't think Daria's going to be a good team member, Mamoru," whined Usagi.
"I couldn't agree with you more, Usagi," conceded Mamoru..
Hamada Ieyasu was just a typical person living in a quiet street in a suburb of Narita. That is, he would be typical except for one thing: he had a working-order Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu night fighter/ground attack aircraft in his backyard. He had a long, gray, tapered Fu Manchu beard and was greasy from his work. He wore a soft cap and a velvet jacket. He was doing some routine maintenance on it when his grandson Hideki asked him about the plane.
"You're pretty proud of that airplane, aren't you, Grandpa?," began Hideki.
Ieyasu began to tell him about the plane:
"Yes I am, Hideki. I may have flown it in a losing cause, but it served me well. I was just lucky that I managed to salvage parts for it and rebuild it; after the way, the American occupation forces scrapped most of our nation's war capabilities. Remember, back then, we and the United States were not on the best of terms. Ruthless military men had virtual control of our nation in name if not in fact. They had launched a foolhardy quest to annex much of East Asia to our territory and committed many atrocities. This plane was one of the best craft ever built. Did you know that it was this plane, and not the Mitsubishi A6M that made the first Kamikaze attack on American naval vessels? The Americans called this plane the 'Nick' like the A6M was called the 'Zero'."
Ieyasu paused to go toward the tail of the Nick. He continued:
"You may notice that the Rising Sun is on a white stripe on this plane. That meant that this plane was serving in the defense of the homeland. And the marking of the tail indicates that it was with the 1st Chutai of the 53rd Sentai based in Matsudo here in Chiba-ken."
Hideki asked, "What was your greatest adventure in this plane?"
"Well, one time," Ieyasu answered, "shortly before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, we went up against the Americans and their Superfortresses on one of their raids against Tokyo. I managed to shoot down three that night. However, my tailgunner was killed when a fourth retaliated after we bungled an attempt to shoot that one down. I was lucky to escape with my life."
Ieyasu then added this rather suddenly:
"You know, Hideki, I wonder how things might have been different if the military hadn't slowly crept into power and we didn't join the Nazi Germans and the Fascist Italians. We might have joined the Americans and together forced both of them to surrender sooner that they did. We might have launched a campaign to expel the Germans from the Soviet Union. We might have gone into Berlin instead of the Soviets. What I don't figure is why both our government and the American government won't just own up to what happened. They say the Americans should apologize for using the atomic bomb but why won't our government apologize for the Rape of Nanjing or the Korean comfort women or the Baatan Death March when most of its citizens are indeed sorry for those things. Why can't both our nations admit that mistakes were made by everyone, make a commitment to make sure nothing like this ever happens again, and get on with our lives? Why is it that the people know better than our elected leaders?"
"Beats me, Grandpa," said an astonished Hideki; "I guess adults aren't better than us kids."
Ieyasu got a good laugh over that. "Grandma should be ready with dinner soon," he said. "You'd better go in and set the table. I'll have this plane ready for the Narita Air Show by the end of the week, or I'll eat my hat. And tell your father when he and your mother come to pick you up that I hope he'll make it this year. This old bird's gonna win the Grand Prize this year, or I'll have to commit seppuku."
"You wouldn't!," said an alarmed Hideki.
"Just kidding, Hideki," reassured Ieyasu.
Dr. Vander Helffen was at his office. He was poring over his latest plans to hijack the Neo-Zero prototype when Yoriko arrived.
"Time for your pill again, Yoriko," he said. She took a bottle marked Hi no Tori Immortality Pills and ingested one of them.
"Now, on to business, Yoriko," he continued. "I have grave concerns for Ryu."
"How so?," Yoriko wanted to know.
Dr. Vander Helffen replied, "Our ninja spies have seen him hanging around with known SDF intelligence agents in the Ginza." He proceeded to take some photographs out of a manila envelope.
"So, I see," was her reply.
"If Ryu is indeed acting as a double agent, he is to be eliminated," Dr. Vander Helffen stated. "We're tailing him now, even as we speak. If he is working for the SDF behind our backs, give the kill order."
"Understood, Dr. Vander Helffen," replied Yoriko.
Gen. Torymura had gotten the full report from Ryu of the NIRAA's plot to steal the Neo‑Zero prototype, and now he was ready to take action.
"This is serious," he began; "If the NIRAA seizes the prototype, nothing in the SDF arsenal can stop it. We will need to get some additional help. If the rumors are true about what I heard about the Sailor Senshi, they may be our only hope against the NIRAA."
"I think I know someone who can contact them;" replied Ryu. "His name is Chiba Mamoru. He's in the self- defense class I teach at the Morita Dojo. If what I suspect of him is true, I can get the Sailor Senshi on our side."
"Proceed," ordered Gen. Torymura. "The fate of Japan rests on your shoulders, Ryu."
Ryu departed, not noticing that the receptionist had overheard everything that had happened. She was an NIRAA ninja spy, and was now sending a secret message by a secret relaying device to NIRAA headquarters.
"Japan Air Lines, how may I help you?," asked a ticket agent on the phone Akbar was ordering his ticket..
"This is Akbar el-Salaam," he began; "I would like to book a seat on the Saturday flight from Narita to Berlin." Luckily for Akbar, this was his first hijacking, and there would be no record of him by any of the aviation or law enforcement authorities on file. Until now, Akbar had been content with the occasional strafing of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and throwing rocks at Israeli troops. Now he was in the big leagues.
"What class?," the agent asked.
Akbar answered, "First class."
The agent replied, "Smoking or non-smoking?"
"I thought all flights were now non-smoking," inquired Akbar.
"That's only for United States airlines, sir," replied the agent.
"Non-smoking," answered Akbar.
"OK," the agent said; "you can pick up your ticket at the gate on the morning of departure. Thanks you for flying Japan Air Lines, and have a nice flight."
"It will be nice all right," Akbar sneered as he hung up the phone. "My destination will be with Allah in Paradise."
Gov. Nagai was holding a rally at the Ginza, Tokyo's entertainment district. There was a huge crowd. PA speakers were everywhere, as well as streamers and signs. Nagai was making a speech where it seemed he'd promise sushi in everyone's heated dinner table or a full rice cooker if that would make Japan prosperous again.
"My friends," Gov. Nagai began, "we can make Japan better than it is now. We just need the courage to take the difficult steps that need to be taken. Let us go forward with that vision."
Tetsuo was going down the street and noticed the rally. He then looked at a balcony across the street. He noticed something sinister going on. A man dressed entirely in black was setting up a high-powered rifle. He was going to assassinate Gov. Nagai!
Quickly, Tetsuo ran to a nearby alley. He raised his hands as in supplication to the sun.
"Amaterasu-Omikami, give thee thy mortal servant the power of the Solar Warrior!," he shouted.
Instantly it seemed that Tetsuo was engulfed in flames, and a transformation took place. He emerged in red robotic armor with a yellow sunburst on the chest. He leapt up to the balcony.
"Miscreant!," he yelled; "Stop where you are! I am the Solar Warrior, servant to Amaterasu-Omikami, Goddess of the Sun! In the name of the Sun, you will be judged!"
The assassin growled and fired, but the bullets ricocheted off the armor.
The Solar Warrior then yelled, "SOLAR FLARE DISCHARGE ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!"
Two discs, one on each gauntlet, glowed, then discharged. The assassin was incinerated.
The crowd saw what happened. They had just realized that this mystery hero had just saved Gov. Nagai from certain death. The Solar Warrior disappeared, leaving a cheering crowd shouting "BANZAI!" behind.
"Find this person," Gov. Nagai said to one of his aides. "I might have a position for him in my campaign."
Ami was just finishing packing up for her trip. In just three days, she was off to Berlin.
"Think you might want this, Honey?," a voice said as it entered the room. It was Ami's mother.
Ami turned around and saw her old teddy bear.
"Mom, I don't need that teddy bear," said an embarrassed Ami; "Really!"
"It was always your good luck charm," continued her mother. "I want you to do well over there in Germany. I want you to make your father and me proud. I can't believe you're going away in three days."
"I'll miss you, Mom," said Ami, "but I'll e-mail you and all my friends and family every week. I promise."
Ami finished packing., then said, "I'd better get to bed."
"Good night, Ami," her mother said. Ami then took off her clothes and her bra. She stood next to the open window and felt the cool evening wind against her face and breasts. It felt so good after such a hot late summer's day. She stood like that for a few minutes, then slipped on her nightshirt, a football jersey-looking blue shirt with a white "15" on it, and went to bed.
Mizuno Ami didn't know then what Hell she was going to go through.
he mansion that Ami was living in was pretty spacious, by Japanese standards. Ami woke up, flung off her nightshirt, and took a good look at herself in the mirror. For an egghead, she had quite an attractive body, even if she was small-breasted. Daria had settled in the next room, which was used as a guest room. Ami took off her panties, put on her robe, and went to the bathroom.
As she was soaping herself up in the shower, Ami thought about everything that had gone on for the past five years or so. It had it horrifying moments as well as its triumphs, but now it seemed she was going to put this behind her for at least the next four years or so. As she stepped out of the shower again, she looked at herself again. Maybe Minako was right: she should cut loose once in a while. Maybe before she leaves, she should go out with some guy; she had a new blouse and miniskirt combo that she was dying to try out. As she put her robe on again and stepped out of the bathroom, Daria was waiting to enter. She looked beady-eyed without her eyeglasses, and was wearing a blue T‑shirt and yellow shorts as nightwear.
"Had a good sleep, Daria?," Ami asked.
"OK, but I still have major jet lag," replied Daria.
"You'll get used to it," answered Ami; "By the way, I hope you adjusted your watch properly; remember, Japan does not observe Daylight Savings Time like you do back in the United States."
"So I've heard," said Daria. "When do we leave for our first class?"
"Soon," was Ami's reply. "And I hope you will wear the seifuku I gave you; it's our school uniform."
"I still say it looks stupid on me," shot back Daria.
Ami asked her, "Daria, do you actually wear those army fatigues, black skirt and combat boots to school back home?"
"Yes, I do," Daria said. "It sends a message."
"What message is that?," Ami wanted to know.
Daria replied, "That I may be feminine, but I'm also tough as nails."
"If you ever go out on the town," Ami continued, "there's some very good drop-dead minidresses I have that would look very good on you. And, by the way, have you ever considered wearing contact lenses?"
"Too much trouble keeping them clean," replied Daria.
"Other than that, you do look beautiful," replied Ami admiringly.
"Thanks;" said a surprised Daria; "it's not everyday somebody says that about me. They usually call me 'The Misery Chick.'"
"Well, I guess we'd better get the lead out and get dressed for school," stated Ami.
"Right," responded Daria. "I hope you didn't use all the hot water."
"There should be some left," said Ami, somehow unsure of herself.
However, as Daria began to use the shower, she was greeted with a blast of Arctic‑cold water. "That's the story of my life," she said.
As they arrived for their first class, Ami and Daria noticed that Usagi was going to be late again.
"What else is new," sneered Osaka Naru, whose mother ran a jewelry store. "Usagi is always late. She's like that school girl Magami Eiko on Project A-ko. She always wakes up late for school, rushes like a maniac and still winds up being late for her first class. If only she had superhuman strength, superhuman speed and had Kotobuki Shiko in tow, as well as long-flowing red hair, the image would be perfect."
"I've seen every film in that series," boasted Umino Gurio, the geeky guy who was Naru's boyfriend. "A-ko, B-ko and C-ko are real funny!"
"And you must be 'The Upchuck of Japan!,'" sneered Daria.
"What's an 'Upchuck?,'" Gurio asked.
"Nevermind," replied Daria.
Ms. Sakurada Haruna, who was the English teacher, stepped in the room. She noticed that it was time to start class.
"Oh, that Usagi's going to be late again, as usual, I see," began Ms. Sakurada. "Well, that hasn't stopped me before. Shall we begin class? We've got a new student here today who will take Ami's place after she leaves for her medical studies in Germany. Care to introduce yourself?"
Daria stepped up to the front of the room.
"My name's Daria Morgendorffer," she began. "I'm from Lawndale High School on a foreign exchange program. I hope that I will do well in your school and not be treated like an outcast like I am back home." She bowed and resumed her seat.
"Well, that was short and sweet," Ms. Sakurada responded. Suddenly, Usagi bolted into the room.
"Sorry I'm late, Ms. S! The bus was late!," was Usagi's rather pathetic reply.
"Usagi, you are so pathetic," shot back Ms. Sakurada. "You will wait outside in the hallway until class is over, then you and I are going to have a little talk in my office, young lady!"
"Does this happen every time?," Daria asked Ami.
"I'm afraid so," Ami answered.
Later that day, school had let out for the day. All of the Sailor Senshi were going down the street, chatting girl talk.
"So, Ami, do you want a big going-away party before you leave, or what?," Usagi asked.
"Usagi, please don't make a big deal about it," pleaded Ami; "I'll get a chance to see you during such times as inter-semester breaks, holidays and such. Besides, I've never felt comfortable about going-away parties."
"How do you feel about having the type of party like we have back home in the United States?," Daria asked. "I guess you've heard about the types of parties high school kids have on Friday and Saturday nights."
"What do you mean?," Ami asked.
Daria began her description:
"Stale potato chips, warm beer, flat soda, loud heavy metal music, guys and gals making out--"
"DON'T GO ON!!!!!!!!!!," shrieked an embarrassed Ami.
"Ami, your cheeks are blushing!," giggled Hotaru.
"They are not!," roared Ami.
Just then, shots were heard at a nearby Mitsubishi Bank branch, and two armed robbers were running at full speed. When they got near the building, they saw that a security officer was shot to death.
"This looks like a job for the Sailor Senshi!," Usagi exclaimed.
The Sailor Senshi began their transformation sequences:
"ETERNAL MOON STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER CHIBI-MOON STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER MARS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER JUPITER STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER VENUS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER SATURN STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER URANUS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER NEPTUNE STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER PLUTO STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
Each Sailor Senshi had underwent her transformation; now it was Daria's turn.
"Here goes nothing!," she said. "SUPER MERCURY STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
Daria was soon transformed into Sailor Mercury.
"Daria, activate your VR equipment and track down the robbers," Ami instructed. A blue visor appeared on Daria. She was soon getting a reading.
"They went that way," Daria said.
"All right, then, let's move it!", said Sailor Moon, who was in her Eternal Mode, with wings. She flew ahead of them.
The robbers, meanwhile, had a couple of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department officers on their tail.
"Halt, in the name of the law!," one of the officers roared.
"Eat lead, copper!," roared one of the crooks back. He took a gun and shot the cop down. The other cop went to help him. He took his portable radio and said, "Officer down! Officer down!"
"You're next, blue pig!," said the other crook as he put his .45 Magnum against his temple.
"Hold it right there, crooks!," said a nearby voice. "I am the pretty soldier Eternal Sailor Moon, champion of love and justice. And these are the Sailor Senshi. In place of the Moon, we will punish you!"
Each of the other Sailor Senshi made her introductory speeches as well. It was now time for Daria to make hers:
"I am Sailor Mercury, Misery Chick of Justice! In the name of Mercury, I'm going to nag you to death!"
"What the Hell. . ." Sailor Moon found herself saying.
But there was no time to waste.
"Eat lead, Sailor Senshi!," yelled the first crook.
Just then, a red rose dart hit the ground.
"You shoot, and it will be the last thing you ever do," Tuxedo Mask said as he stepped out of the shadows.
"Here comes the calvary!," Daria said sarcastically.
Recently, the Sailor Senshi had been given some new powers, and now they were going to be put to the test.
Sailor Moon was going to be first. She yelled, "MOON THUNDER PUNCH!!!!!!!!!!" With that, she threw her fist, and it knocked both crooks off their feet.
Sailor Venus was next. "SUPER VENUS BLINDSIDER ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!," she screamed. With that a blinding light issued from her hands, temporarily blinding the crooks.
Daria was still new at this, so she decided to use one of Sailor Mercury's old powers. She shouted, "SHABON SPRAY. . .FREEZING!!!!!!!!!!" The crooks were frozen solid.
"Hmmm, just like in Duke Nukem 3D!," she quipped. Then, she went up to them, and kicked them. They shattered into little pieces.
"Your face, your ass, what's the difference!," she sneered.
The rest of the Sailor Senshi stood in disbelief, with their mouths wide open.
Later, back at Sendai Hill Shrine, Daria was being reprimanded for her actions.
"Daria," Usagi began, "what you did was highly inappropriate! Sailor Senshi don't act that way!"
"Usagi's right," Luna added. "You have to stop acting sarcastically! You're just lucky the TMPD decided that the use of deadly force was justified in the case."
"Next time, you may not be so lucky!," Artemis said.
"You know," Daria replied, "all of you should go take a hike!" With that, Daria stormed away.
"I'm beginning to think that Ami made a big mistake asking Daria to take her place, Luna," Usagi said.
"Right now, we're stuck with her," Luna replied; "Ami's leaving for Germany the day after tomorrow, so there's nothing much else we can do for now."
"I just hope she can keep her temper in check, that's all," Usagi said resignedly.
Gov. Nagai was holding another rally, this time at the foot of Tokyo Tower. Another huge crowd had gathered, and they were shouting "NAGAI!!!!!!!!!! NAGAI!!!!!!!!!! NAGAI!!!!!!!!!!", awaiting for the arrival of the candidate.
In a nearby trailer, Gov. Nagai was speaking to the Solar Warrior, whom he managed to locate shortly after he saved his life.
"Believe me, Solar Warrior," Gov. Nagai began, "I'm making a generous offer. Besides, if I'm elected and my proposal goes through, you could find yourself in a good position in government."
"My allegiance is with Amaterasu-Omikami," responded the Solar Warrior. "I have served her for untold millennia, back when there was no Japan as we know it. You must understand that I serve my goddess first, then my nation."
"Of course," Gov. Nagai said. "The Americans have a saying for that: 'For God and Country.' Far be it from me to tell you to quit the employ of your mistress. All I'm asking is for you to head this agency I'm proposing. If all goes well, we'll make the best law enforcement apparatus in the world even better."
"Very well," said the Solar Warrior. "If it will serve to advance both my faith and my nation, so be it."
"I'm glad to see we're at agreement," Gov. Nagai said, relieved. "Might as well tell my adoring public about this."
Gov. Nagai, the Solar Warrior and the entire campaign staff stepped out of the trailer and onto the platform set up for the occasion. Stepping up to the podium, Gov. Nagai began to speak:
"My friends, I have someone here you may be familiar with. This is the brave hero who stopped the assassin who was determined to end my life yesterday. He calls himself the Solar Warrior. I owe my life to this person, and there's only one way I can pay him back. I've decided to name him as my chief of security during my campaign. He deserves this honor."
"Further, I hereby announce that if I am elected, one of the first things I plan to introduce in the Diet is a bill creating a new Agency of Superhuman Activity Co-Ordination. Such an agency would help the various superhumans and superhuman groups work together with our local and national police forces to help stop some of the bigger threats to our well-being and safety. We already have one of the lowest crime rates in the world; this will ensure that it stays that way."
The crowd cheered loudly. Shouts of "NAGAI!!!!!!!!!!", "BANZAI!!!!!!!!!!", and "SOLAR WARRIOR!!!!!!!!!!" filled the air as Gov. Nagai and the rest of his campaign staff--the Solar Warrior included--left for campaign headquarters.
Ryu had made his way to Azabu-ku, where his friend Mamoru lived in a rather well‑appointed apartment. He rang the doorbell and waited a few seconds.
"Ryu? What brings you here?," Mamoru asked.
"Is there anyone else here with you?," Ryu responded.
"No," said Mamoru.
"Good," Ryu replied as he stepped inside. "What I have to tell you is not to leave this room. I am actually an agent for the Japanese Special Intelligence Bureau. I've been working on a special assignment in regard to the activities of an organization called the New Imperial Rule Assistance Association. They're a extreme right-wing organization that wants to return Japan to its military-influenced wartime government. They plan to do so by stealing the prototype of the new Mitsubishi Neo-Zero Advanced Jet Fighter now being developed. They plan to use it to bomb Tokyo to rubble unless the civilian government hands over power to them. The SDF can't stop them alone, and neither can the JSIB. We were hoping that you can contact the Sailor Senshi for us; they may be our only hope."
"How do I know that you're being on the level with me on this matter?," demanded Mamoru.
"Because the JSIB has extensive knowledge of the Sailor Senshi's activities," said Ryu. "We've got files on every member back to their earliest childhood. If you're think we're joking, take a look at this."
Ryu gave him a file with the name "CHIBA MAMORU" on it. He opened it up and looked at it. Sure enough, all of it was there: pictures of his parents; of the car wreck that killed them; of his days at the orphanage; of his activities as Tuxedo Mask; of his activities as Endymion when he was brainwashed to work for the Dark Kingdom; of his activities as Moonlight Knight; of his recent mysterious disappearance during a flight to the United States. It was all there.
"How did you get these pictures?," demanded Mamoru.
Ryu replied, "We have our ways, Mamoru. I have Usagi's file here as well." He pulled it out and began perusing it. "Did you know that when she was in kindergarten, she dumped a cup of chocolate pudding on her best friend Osaka Naru because she called her a 'dweeb'? Or that she can't stand carrots? Or that she's never really been able to figure you out?"
Mamoru said curtly, "Oh, and I bet you have her bra size in there as well?"
"Not even worth mentioning," dismissed Ryu. "You see, Mamoru, we've got the goods on all of you. This is a serious matter we're talking about here. Now, we need to know if the Sailor Senshi are on our side or not?"
"Very well, you win," said Mamoru resignedly. "We'll help you in this matter. But I want those files destroyed. If they ever fall in the wrong hands, it could compromise our identities."
"Consider it done, my friend," replied Ryu. "We will contact you when we feel that we need your assistance. Until then, take care."
Ryu left the apartment building, but he didn't take even five steps when he turned around. Apparently, some NIRAA ninja spies had been following him; they were dressed in black and had katana blades, bo quarterstaffs, sais, nunchuckas and throwing stars.
"You traitor!," said the leader of the group. "We should have suspected from the beginning that you were a double agent! We'll put an end to your miserable existence at once!"
The ninja spies charged on him. Ryu stood his ground, then launched into a roundhouse kick that sent two of them crashing to the ground. Three more fell to blows to their solar plexus, and two more fell to blows to the neck. One more was left standing. He decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and ran.
"Run like the coward you are!," Ryu shouted. He decided to report this matter to Gen. Torymura at once.
Back at Lawndale, the high school football team was holding a scrimmage. George Gibson, the regular coach was sick with the flu, so Anthony DeMartino, the neurotic social studies teacher, was filling in for him.
Mack was calling the next play:
"34 red, 34 red, 45, 49, hike, hike!"
Kevin was fading back for a pass, but then fumbled the ball. Mack could only groan in disappointment.
"Kevin," Mr. DeMartino said as his right eye bulged in anger, "for a star quarterback, sometimes you play pathetically! How are we going to win the big game Saturday against Highland if you keep fumbling the ball?"
"Sorry, Mr. DeMartino," replied Kevin, "but I keep being distracted seeing Brittany practicing her jumps over there."
Sure enough, Brittany was indeed practicing her jumps; with the tight sweater she was wearing, her breasts were jiggling like crazy.
Up in the stands sat Jane, Quinn, Jane's brother Trent, Jodie and Upchuck; his real name was Charles Ruttheimer, but since he was so perverted and geeky, he was called Upchuck. Quinn was expecting the other members of the Fashion Club to arrive shortly.
"What a boring scrimmage!," Quinn started. "How are we going to win the game if we keep acting like a bunch of morons?"
Upchuck went up to Quinn and said, "Why don't we go back to my place and have our own scrimmage? ROWR!!!!!!!!!!"
"Keep away from me, Upchuck!," shrieked Quinn.
"I see not all of the morons are out on the field," Jane retorted.
"Man, I can't believe Daria won't be here for this game," Trent said. "She never liked football, but she likes being here for the big game against Highland. She always likes to heckle Beavis and Butt-Head; it's the only time her two former classmates from Highland High School ever come to visit Lawndale every year. It's been that way since she moved here to Lawndale a couple of years back."
"Well, you know what they say, Trent," Jane said, "'Absence makes the heart grow fonder.'"
"Tell me about it," Trent said with a sigh.
"Oh, look, here comes the Fashion Club!," Quinn chirped. Sandi Griffin, the club president, entered first followed by Stacy Rowe, the club secretary, and then Tiffany Blum‑Deckler, the club treasurer.
"Like, sorry we're late and all that," Sandi began to say, "but, like my cat pooped all over this outfit I'm wearing and I had to wash it up."
"Stuff like that happens," Quinn said.
"Hey, everything's all set for us to sell goodies at the game," Stacy said. "Tiffany and I have baked up a whole batch of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and so forth."
"But, UGH!!!!!!!!!! I've got dishpan hands now!," whined Tiffany.
"Like, just remember, Tiffany," Sandi said, "it's all for a good cause: the Fashion Club."
"Why don't they give it to charity like Student Government does?," Jodie asked Jane.
"They are a charity case," replied Jane, "They all need new brains, new personalities and ego deflation!"
Jodie got a good snicker over that remark.
Jesse Moreno, Trent's bandmate on the rock band Mystik Spiral, arrived.
"Trent, man, it's all set!," he said.
"What's all set, Jesse?," asked Trent.
Jesse continued, "We're gonna sing the national anthem at the big game. I just spoke to Ms. Li, the principal, and she's promised to pay us $1000 for the gig."
"And just where is Ms. Li going to get $1000 from," Quinn said. "The expenses for this game have already gone over budget!"
"Yeah," Jane added, "and the last time this happened, the Board of Education and the school superintendent reprimanded her big time for wasting taxpayers' money. We're just lucky Bob Schulz didn't show up and sue the school district!"
"Hey, where she gets the bread from don't matter to me, man," Trent said, "just as long as we get it."
Meanwhile, another play was being run on the field. This time, Kevin made a perfect spiral pass. Mack snagged it and ran it down for a touchdown.
"Now, that's what I like to see, people!," Mr. DeMartino said.
Brittany saw that and shouted "YEAH!!!!!!!!!! GO, GO LAWNDALE!!!!!!!!!!"
Just then, Jane thought she heard some familiar laughter:
"Oh, no!," Jane said, "it can't be those two!"
Sure enough, it was Beavis and Butt-Head. They went up in the stands.
"Uh, Quinn, where's your sister, Diarrhea?," Butt-Head asked.
"Yeah, like we want to talk to her and stuff," Beavis added.
"Well, Daria isn't here today!," Quinn began; "she went over to Japan on a foreign exchange program."
"Man, that sucks!," Beavis answered.
"Listen, you two," Jane said, "all because Daria isn't here doesn't mean you can go pick on Quinn at the game on Saturday. If you do anything to her, I'll scratch your eyes out!"
"Uh, like is that a threat or a promise?," Butt-Head asked.
Jane said rather icily, "BOTH!!!!!!!!!!"
"WHOA!!!!!!!!!!," Butt-Head said.
Beavis and Butt-Head sat down and watched a few plays. Kevin was once again fumbling the ball. After a while, those two got bored.
"This scrimmage sucks!," Beavis said.
"Uh, let's liven things up a bit, Beavis!," Butt-Head responded.
They soon got out two brown paper bags they had taken with them and pulled out some firecrackers.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?!?!," Jane roared.
"Uh, like we're going to set off firecrackers and stuff!," Butt-Head said; "What do you think we were going to do, asswipe?"
They set off a whole string of them and tossed them onto the field. The whole team started to scatter.
"HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!!!!!!! See me toss this big one out there, Butt-Head!," Beavis said. He lit the fuse and tossed it out. It landed right on Kevin, and it went off in his left eye. Kevin collapsed in agony.
"KEVIN!!!!!!!!!!," shrieked Brittany, who saw the whole thing go down. She then fainted.
Beavis and Butt-Head made good their escape while everyone was gathered around Kevin.
"Someone call 911, dammit!," shrieked Mr. DeMartino.
Kevin was taken to Lawndale General Hospital. An examination revealed that most of the explosion was absorbed by his helmet, and damage to his eye was negligible. His vision checked out OK, but he was held overnight for observation, and released the next day.
At the next meeting of the Lawndale Militia, Anthony Corlew brought up the matter of the firecracker attack at the scrimmage:
"Fellow comrades in arms, this is just another reason why we need to take over Lawndale. With our agenda of law and order, filth like Beavis and Butt-Head, as well as people of color and crippled folks, will be kept out of our community. We don't need white trash like those two ruining our town! When they return, we need to lynch them, to teach a lesson to Highland that we won't tolerate their shenanigans here in Lawndale!"
Those in attendance cheered the speech.
"I have failed you, Master!" With that, the only NIRAA ninja who escaped from Ryu (the others had been arrested) committed seppuku in front of Dr. Vander Helffen. Dr. Vander Helffen ordered the body disposed of. Yoriko entered the room.
"What was that all about?," she asked.
"Our attempt to kill Ryu failed," began Dr. Vander Helffen. "We sent some ninja spies to track him down, and he has alerted someone named Chiba Mamoru to our plans. They were going to kill Ryu, but he was too strong for them. I want you to personally kill Ryu."
"Your orders will be obeyed, Dr. Vander Helffen," said Yoriko.
Ryu had just returned to Gen Torymura and told him all about his meeting with Mamoru, as well as the attack by the NIRAA ninja spies.
"They're on to us; I was afraid they would," Gen. Torymura said. "I'm going to order security tightened to the biggest extent possible immediately at the base where the prototype is being stored. When we do need the Sailor Senshi, they are to be briefed on this matter."
"Everything will be done as you have ordered, General," answered Ryu.
The day had arrived for Ami to leave for Germany. All the Sailor Senshi were with her at Narita Airport, as well as both her mother and her father.
"Well, I guess this is it," Ami said.
"Ami, you'll always be in our hearts," Usagi began to say. "When you do come back, you can always rejoin us. The door is always open."
"Here, take this," Rei said. "It's a special 'Safe Journey' charm. I hope you have a safe flight."
"I want you to make your mother and I very proud of you," said Ami's father. "I always knew in my heart that you are a very intelligent young lady."
"As for you, Daria," Ami said, "Keep the home fires burning."
"Mom told me never to play with matches," Daria said.
"Still with your sarcastic humor, I see," Usagi said.
"Ami, I hope you will be a success in your endeavors," Mamoru added. "We're all rooting for you."
Ami couldn't hold it back anymore. The tears were beginning to flow.
"I'm really going to miss you guys!," Ami sobbed, then hugged each of her friends and family. "I'd better get on board the plane now!"
A chorus of "Farewell" followed her down the gate.
"Good luck!," Usagi added.
Not noticed by anyone, Akbar el-Salaam had boarded the plane right behind Ami. Since most of the nuclear device was plastic in composition (it even had a plastique primer), he managed to scoot by security with that and some machine guns--also made mostly of plastic--with no problems.
Half an hour had passed on the flight. A flight attendant in one of the most revealing uniforms ever worn by such a person--it had a microminiskirt and the blazer, vest and shirt revealed a lot of cleavage--went up to Ami and asked her what she wanted for lunch.
"What do you have?," replied Ami.
The flight attendant answered, "We have yellow fin tuna or beef teriyaki."
"UGH!!!!!!!!!!," said Ami in disgust, "I can't stand yellow fin tuna! I'll have the beef teriyaki."
The flight attendant went to the next seat and asked him what he wanted.
Suddenly, Akbar leapt up, grabbed one of his machine guns and roared "ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!! ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!! This is Islamic Jihad! We are seizing this plane in the name of Allah! You are to fly this plane to Lawndale, USA, or I will kill everyone aboard!"
Screams of panic filled the plane. Ami now realized that she wasn't going to Germany today. And she had to be there to register for classes, or forfeit her tuition deposit. But that was no longer a grave concern, not when death stared you in the face. For Mizuno Ami, she had to take action and save the plane from this madman.
kbar was in a rage now. He started to fire indiscriminately at anyone he could vent his anger at. Ami ducked down just as a stray bullet buried itself into the left temple of the passenger in front of her. Akbar grabbed the flight attendant, and ripped her blazer, vest and shirt off, leaving her bra barely hanging by the tattered straps. She began to cry as Akbar stormed forward into the cockpit.
"GO TO HELL, INFIDEL!!!!!!!!!!", he roared as his gun spat bullets everywhere. The pilot, co-pilot and navigator fell dead. Akbar then went to the control and programmed the auto pilot on a course for Lawndale. He then stormed back into the first class compartment.
"There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is His prophet!," roared Akbar. "The Great Satan will burn in Hell for all eternity! Death to the American Satan! The infidel must die! ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!! ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!!" Akbar then undid the buttons of his shirt and revealed the nuclear device strapped to his abdomen. With a calm dexterity he armed the device for the precise moment the plane would be flying over Lawndale High School's football field.
Ami was still in a ducked position. She was trying to get her mini-computer/communicator that she always carried with her and try to send a message back to Tokyo; she finally found it and activated it.
"This is Ami!," she began; "Usagi, Rei, Mako, Minako, Mamoru, anyone, can you hear me! We're being held hostage!"
Akbar heard what was going on, and stormed right to Ami's seat. He grabbed Ami by the hair and roared a savage yell.
"You will pay for that, you American pig!," he screamed.
"My name is Mizuno Ami," she began to reply. "I am a citizen of Japan. That is all I will tell you!"
"American, Japanese, it doesn't matter to me!," Akbar yelled back; "You will pay for what you did, infidel!"
Then Akbar savagely threw a left hook right into Ami's right eye, causing her to yelp in excruciating pain as she collapsed on the floor. He then began to kick her on the floor, kicking her in every conceivable area: her head, her pelvis, her legs, her shins, the base of her spine, the solar plexus. He then took the butt of one of his guns and began to hit her with that as well. Fifteen horrifying minutes later, Ami was horribly black and blue. Ami began to cry.
"DON'T CRY, YOU BITCH!!!!!!!!!!", Akbar roared as he slapped her across the face. He then seized her by the collar of her seifuku and ripped it in half. "Take the rest of your clothes off now!"
Ami was too afraid at this point to refuse. She took what was left of her tattered clothes off and submitted to a humiliating search. There was nowhere Akbar left unexamined.
"At least you don't have any more devices on you!;" shouted Akbar; "As far as I know, you might be an agent for the CIA or the FBI or even working for the Russians! I don't trust you, you swine! I'm locking you in the lavatory until we reach our destination!"
"But what if we have to go to there?," said one passenger.
Akbar fired his machine gun and killed him. "SILENCE!!!!!!!!!!," he roared. He then took the nude Ami and threw her into the lavatory, putting a food cart next to it so Ami couldn't open the door.
Ami was all alone now. She could see bruises all over her body. She hadn't felt so alone or so helpless since her mother told her that she was getting a divorce from her father. Ami began to cry.
"Queen Serenity, help me in my time of need!", she sobbed silently.
Akbar had returned to the first class cabin. He was extremely enraged now. He began to scream out a diatribe against the United States:
"The Great Satan must pay for his atrocities against Islam! The Great Satan must be destroyed for his supporting the Jewish interlopers in Palestine! The Great Satan must suffer for his sins of arrogance! Death to the American Satan! The infidel must die!"
Everyone on the plane was cowed into silence with his ranting.
Suddenly, he said, "I now hereby order all of you to sing!"
"What do you want us to sing?," asked another passenger.
Akbar commanded, "You are to sing 'Morning Has Broken' from that great singer Yusuf Islam, or as you infidels know him, Cat Stevens. He supports the Ayatollah Khomeini's death sentence against that pig, Salman Rushdie. Anyone who refuses to sing will be shot! ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!! ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!!!"
Slowly, at first, the crowd began to sing:
"Morning has broken/Like the first morning..."
"LOUDER!!!!!!!!!!," Akbar screamed.
The crowd began to sing louder. Akbar then headed to the cockpit, shoved the corpse of the pilot aside and got on the radio to announce what he had just done. After that, he sent a machine gun burst into the radio, disabling it. He then returned to the first class cabin.
Back at Japan, the news spread like wildfire as soon as it got off the wires:
"We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming here at NHK to bring you this special bulletin. A Japan Air Lines jet from Narita Airport to Berlin, Germany, has just been hijacked by a terrorist who says he's with Islamic Jihad. He has set a course for the United States, destination unknown at this time. He claims to have already killed several passengers and will kill more unless he is given free passage to the United States. His ultimate intentions are unknown at this time. NHK will keep you posted on further developments as this alarming situation develops."
Gov. Nagai, having heard the news, made hasty arrangements to address the issue at a press conference:
"My friends, I have received this distressing news myself only moments ago. My heart goes out to those aboard, especially our own fellow countrymen, who are now facing indescribable terror. To the hijacker, I must warn him that any further deaths on his part will result in the condemnation of the world."
"I assure everyone here, that if I am elected, I will introduce legislation that will address the threat of terrorism here in Japan. We only know too well that not even our nation is immune; witness the serin attack on the Tokyo subway system just three years ago. I propose that a joint special unit consisting of SDF and National Police personnel be formed to help combat the scourge of terrorism while at the same time adhere to the prohibitions of Article 9. I propose that better security measures be put in place at our airports, railway stations and maritime facilities. It is time to send a message to terrorists of all stripes that Japan will no longer be an easy target for them."
Gov. Nagai left without taking any questions from the press.
The Sailor Senshi were gathered at Sendai Hill Temple when the news broke. Rei and her grandfather didn't own a television themselves, but Kumada Yuuichirou, a retired rock singer who had been living in the shrine for several years now, had one in his room. When he saw the bulletin, he raced out of his room and into the courtyard.
"Guys! Guys! You've got to see this!," Yuuichirou said; "It was just on NHK, but I can get it on CNN as well!" Since Yuuichirou had a satellite dish installed, he could pull in the American cable channels like CNN.
"What's going on, Yuuichirou?," Rei asked.
"Something about a hijacking or something like that, Rei," Yuuichirou replied.
Everyone scrambled to Yuuichirou's room. He had tuned in to CNN. Wolf Blitzer was at the State Department covering the event.
"We can now confirm that Islamic Jihad is behind this," Blitzer said. "The Imam Al‑Kabaz, who heads the Beirut branch of the organization, announced that it was Akbar el-Salaam who took control of the JAL flight from Tokyo to Berlin and has now set a course for the United States. Islamic Jihad still refuses to reveal where in the United States the plane will land, if it does at all."
"Oh, my god! Ami's on that flight!," Usagi said.
"What can we do?", Haruka added "Right now, they're right in the middle of the ocean."
Suddenly, Rei's grandfather raced in.
"Rei! Rei! Come quickly!," he said. "The Great Fire is raging out of control!"
Everyone ran to where the Great Fire was burning. Sure enough, it was indeed burning furiously as it had never burned before.
"This is not a good sign," Rei said. "There are demonic forces at play here."
Phobos and Deimos, Rei's pet crows, had flown in and witnessed the fire. They were beginning to act strangely, like Rei had never seen them act before.
"In all my years I have been the priest of this shrine, I have never witnesses anything like this!," Rei's grandfather said. "In fact, nowhere in the shrine chronicles has anything this intense ever happened until now! May all the kami and megami of our faith protect us at this trying time!"
Usagi turned to Daria and told her, "Now you understand the seriousness of what we do here. This is no kid's game we're engaged in. I used to be a big crybaby and whine a lot, but now I know what my destiny is. I'm supposed to lead humanity to a better future, and fight those who would destroy that vision. Daria, you have to tell me right now: Are you in for this--no matter how high the stakes get in this situation--or are you out?"
Daria now knew the gravity of the situation. God only knows where the terrorist was taking the plane; even the people she cared for (in her own way) might be in danger.
"I'm in," Daria replied in her calm, monotone voice.
"I request that all of you leave me here while I meditate," Rei asked.
"Now, when all Hell's breaking loose?," Mako said in shock.
"I will pray for the deliverance of the hostages," Rei replied. Rei's grandfather and Yuuichirou ushered the others out of the room. Rei got on her knees, the sweat from the intense heat of the fire dropping from her forehead like mad. She raised her hands in supplication.
"Mother," Rei began, "I know you can hear me. I have prayed to you since your death. You know that I miss you dearly, but you and Grandpa taught me the ways of the miko. I pray to you now to help my friend Ami. She too has suffered pain and suffering in her life, and now her own life is in jeopardy. If she is in mortal danger, help her. I cannot help her myself now, for she is far away. Listen to my entreaties, Mother. This I pray in the name of Amaterasu-Omikami, the Great Heaven Shining Deity who watches over our people."
Suddenly, the fire died out. A woman in flowing red robes, robes that seem to be aflame with the very fire of the Sun itself, appeared; she had long, flowing black hair and her eyes seemed to be aflame with solar fire themselves. It was Amaterasu-Omikami herself. Rei did not want to admit it, but now she was trembling.
"Do not be afraid of me, my child," Amaterasu-Omikami began to say; "I have heard your supplication and all shall be done as you have asked." She reached a hand out to her forehead, and it seemed energy flowed from her to Rei.
"Receive this gift of mine; it is extra energy to help you in the ordeal ahead," Amaterasu-Omikami said. "Go in peace, my child." With that, she vanished, and Rei seemed to faint. She recovered a few minutes later and left the room. She did not dare reveal at the time what had happened.
It was the morning of the big game at Lawndale, due to the time difference. The Lawndale Militia had gathered for a pre-attack meeting. Anthony Corlew stood up deliver a pre-attack speech:
"My comrades in arms! This is the big day we have been planning for months now. If we need yet another reason why we need to take over Lawndale, then the nation, it is in the news we've all heard this morning. The hijacking of the JAL flight proves that we need to seize power. If we had a government that was not afraid to use its military might when needed, things like this wouldn't happen. Our present philandering, draft-dodging President does not have the balls to use his powers that are given to him. And if--God forbid--the hijacker explodes the plane over our airspace, it will not look good for us. Therefore, in the name of all that is right with the white middle class, let us mobilize and take our positions."
The members of the militia got up and began to move out.
Dr. Vander Helffen was watching the coverage of the hijacking situation on Asahi TV. He had summoned Yoriko, who was expected to arrive shortly.
Yoriko entered. Dr. Vander Helffen motioned her to sit down. He said:
"Yoriko, now is the time for us to launch 'Operation Iron Fist.' Now that the attention of the world is focused on this hijacking, now is the time to strike. Get our best ninja soldiers together and get some sarin bombs and proceed to the joint SDF/USAF base near Yokohama. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot!"
"Understood, Dr. Vander Helffen," responded Yoriko.
t Lawndale High School, Mr. DeMartino was speaking to Angela Li, the principal. He was trying to persuade her to cancel the game due to some security concerns.
"Ms. Li," Mr. DeMartino began, "given the fact that a terrorist has seized a plane and has it going to the United States has me gravely concerned that there might be a chance he might bring it over to our community. We should cancel the game."
"Forget it, DeMartino," Ms. Li said, "there's too much money at stake here! We've got a sold out stadium, I promised Mystic Spiral I'd pay them $1000 for playing the national anthem, and the Fashion Club's poised to make a lot of sales with their homemade goodies."
"Dammit, Ms. Li," Mr. DeMartino roared, "is money all you ever think about? What about people's lives?"
"I could make things rather rough on you if I ask the Board of Education of start disciplinary hearings against you for insubordination!," warned Ms. Li.
With that, Mr. DeMartino realized that Ms. Li had him.
"All right," shouted Mr. DeMartino, "go ahead with your damn game, but it'll be on your conscience if anything happens to anyone out there!" With that, he left the office.
"Paranoid bastard!," Ms. Li dismissed the entire affair with a huff.
Downtown Lawndale was quiet, since almost everyone was heading for the game. Meanwhile, the Lawndale Militia had quietly assumed attack positions. Trucks were parked in strategic positions in town. Anthony was making a check of the situation.
"Troop A ready at City Hall?," he said on a portable CB radio.
"Check," said the first troop leader.
"Troop B ready at Police Headquarters?," Anthony asked.
"Check," replied the second troop leader.
Finally, Anthony asked, "Troop C ready at the Courthouse?"
"Check," stated the third troop leader. All was set.
"OK, now we wait for the right moment to strike," said Anthony.
Almost no one noticed when a bus stopped and left off Beavis and Butt-Head, who began their hideous laughter as they headed down the street toward the high school.
"Wait a minute," Anthony said, "it's those two idiots who threw firecrackers at the scrimmage."
"Should we kill them?," Poindexter asked.
"No," Anthony replied. "We'll deal with those two soon enough. Hold your positions. It'll only make the taste of victory that much sweeter."
The joint SDF/USAF base near Yokohama was one of the biggest on Honshu, the main island of Japan. Airman First Class Brian Mackenzie, Mack's cousin, was doing some routine maintenance on his F-15C Eagle when he got the orders.
"Mackenzie," Sgt. Frank Stone said, "we've just got our orders in from the Pentagon. We are to intercept the JAL plane and force the terrorist to land the plane outside the mainland. Your unit is to scramble immediately."
Brian didn't waste time. He finished up his maintenance and got ready to go. He didn't even notice the white, unmarked truck that was approaching the gate. The two guards on sentry duty did, but they were ran over as the truck crashed through the gate and pulled to a stop. It was what he saw next that was shocking.
The NIRAA ninja soldiers pulled out small black boxes, pushed the buttons on them, and then donned gas masks. Brian, not a fool, got into the cockpit of his fighter and activated the oxygen. The devices went off, sending deadly clouds of sarin gas in the air. There was enough to kill everyone outside.
Brian activated his radio and alerted the tower:
"This is Airman Mackenzie to tower! Some terrorists have just entered the base and activated sarin bombs! Seal all vents in all buildings at once! I'll try to stop the terrorists until help comes. Out!"
The cloud began to subside, and the ninja terrorists moved toward the hangar where the Neo-Zero prototype was being stored. They now had their masks off. It turned out that one of the ninja soldiers was none other than Yoriko herself.
"Open the doors to that hanger!," she ordered.
Two of the ninja soldiers opened the doors, and the Neo-Zero prototype was now revealed. It was unlike any jet fighter the SDF currently had. Based on the rejected YF‑23 design from Northrop/McDonnell Douglas, the Neo-Zero was vastly improved by Mitsubishi over the original design specifications. The capacity for AAM's had been doubled thanks to the design of new, smaller and more effective "Neo-Sidewinder" missiles; one of those had the explosive power of two regular Sidewinders. The machine guns were also new: it was the experimental 35-mm "Deathgrip" cannon. Further, radar jamming devices on the fighter made it even more stealthy than it already was. All in all, the Neo-Zero was a worthy successor to the legendary fighter plane that was its namesake; although paying homage to the past, it was symbolizing Japan's ascendancy as the second most powerful nation in the world, a nation that was committed to peace, albeit it was ready to defend that peace if need be.
Yoriko stepped up to the cockpit and opened the canopy. She stepped in and began the pre-flight check.
Brian had seen what was going on. Until help arrived, it was up to him to stop the hijacking.
"Hold it right there!," he yelled.
Yoriko had started the Neo-Zero up, and it was slowly taxiing out of the hangar toward Brian.
"I said to hold it right there!," he repeated.
Yoriko fired the Deathgrip cannon. Brian got out of the way, only to be in the way of several ninja soldiers who proceeded to use their nunchuckas on him. Yoriko now got on the runway and put the plane on full throttle; it was roaring down the runway and soon took off. Yoriko activated the afterburners and soon the craft reached its maximum speed of Mach 2.5, once again an improvement over the YF-23's original performance specs. Yoriko armed all systems, and set a course for Tokyo.
Luckily for Brian, several MP's arrived on the scene. After a brief scuffle, the ninja soldiers had been captured, but already the damage had been done.
One of the MP's asked Brian, "Did you see what happened?"
"Every last thing, Sir," Brian said. "I tried to stop them, but they had detonated serin bombs. I was lucky to escape that, they tried again to stop them. They overwhelmed me."
"Airman," replied the MP, "this is a very serious matter that's just happened here. Whoever has that fighter can cause havoc anywhere in Japan right now. But at least your quick thinking might have spared quite a few lives inside. We're going to send you to Gen. Torymura for a debriefing."
Brian followed the MP's as they put the captured ninja soldiers in a truck. They were soon heading for the base stockade and the main administration building.
Sendai Hill Shrine was abuzz with activity. Reports were coming in about the JAL situation, and now the report of the theft of the Neo-Zero was coming in.
"We've just got this report in from Yokohama," an NHK anchorperson began to say. "An experimental jet fighter has just been stolen from the joint SDF/USAF base located at the port city. It seems to be on a direct course for Tokyo. SDF and American military personnel are asking all civilians to take necessary precautions in case of an air attack. We will have further warnings and bulletins here on NHK as we receive them."
"I guess now I should tell you about my meeting with Ryu," Mamoru said.
"What do you mean, Mamo-chan?," Usagi asked.
Mamoru began, "Ryu asked--I digress, demanded--the Sailor Senshi's assistance in case the Neo-Zero fighter was hijacked. We have no choice. Special Intelligence has extensive files on each of us."
"But they don't have one on me," Daria was quick to point out.
"Not yet," Mamoru replied.
Mamoru's cellular phone began to ring.
"Hello, Chiba Mamoru speaking," was his answer.
"Mamoru," said the voice on the phone, "this is Ryu. The time has come. You and the others are to go to the joint SDF/USAF base in Yokohama for you assignment briefing immediately." Ryu stopped there and hung up.
"We've just got our orders," said Mamoru. "We've got to move it to the SDF/USAF base at once."
Usagi never thought that the Sailor Senshi would ever be called to stop an internal threat to Japan; always the threat was from outer space, from another dimension, from another time. Now Usagi and the others had grown up too fast.
"All right, everyone!," said Usagi, "It looks like we have no choice in this matter! Prepare to transform!"
The Sailor Senshi began their transformations again:
"ETERNAL MOON STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER CHIBI-MOON STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER MARS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER JUPITER STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER VENUS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER SATURN STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER URANUS STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER NEPTUNE STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER PLUTO STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
"SUPER MERCURY STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
As soon as each of the Sailor Senshi and Mamoru had completed their transformation, they headed for the base.
"I never thought my trip was going to take this turn!," Daria said to herself, still fussing over her seirafuku.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Gen. Torymura began to speak, "I guess you know why you're here right now. The Neo-Zero prototype has been stolen by the New Imperial Rule Assistance Association, an extreme right-wing organization that wants to restore the wartime military government that had ruled Japan. This aircraft is so advanced, it makes every jet fighter now with the SDF obsolete. The NIRAA's objective is to use the Neo-Zero in a terrorist campaign to bomb Tokyo until the civilian government surrenders to them. Your mission is to stop the Neo-Zero and the NIRAA at all costs. You have complete authority to use whatever means necessary to stop them. Do I make myself clear?"
"General," Sailor Moon began, "with all due respect, the Sailor Senshi are not some mercenary force; we don't go out on commando missions for anyone."
"Listen, sister," Gen. Torymura replied, "this isn't any fun and games here! You're not dealing with some powerful alien beings trying to take over the world! We're dealing with a ruthless terrorist organization that wants to re-annex both Koreas, all of Sakhalin Island, the Kuriles and Taiwan as well as retake the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, The People's Republic of China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Vietnam, Mynamar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, the Pescadores, Indonesia and the various Oceanic nations. They've even issued grandiose statements about waging nuclear war against the United States, Russia, Great Britain and France. Sailor Moon, or shall I call you Ms. Tsukino, this is a very grave matter. This isn't something you can just say some magic words and hope your enemies turn to dust. We must use force against the NIRAA and stop them from destroying half a century of progress!"
"But by using some of the methods your government denounces the NIRAA in using, isn't your government being hypocritical?," Daria retorted.
"No one asked you, sister!," Gen. Torymura replied. "And who the Hell are you anyway? You're not Mizuno Ami, alias Sailor Mercury!"
"No, I'm not," she replied. "I'm Daria Morgendorffer from the United States. I'm filling in for Ms. Mizuno. She's now on board the JAL plane that's been taken hostage by Islamic Jihad."
"Don't get wise with me, Ms. Morgendorffer!," replied Gen. Torymura. "You may sass around like you do back in the United States, but remember, we have a saying here in Japan: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down!'"
"And we have a saying back at the United States you should know about," snapped back Daria.
"And what's that?," demanded Gen. Torymura.
"'Up yours!,'" shouted Daria.
Gen. Torymura seemed to blow a fuse.
"Daria, that was uncalled for!", Luna said, dropping her reservations about speaking when strangers were about.
"You listen and you listen good, all of you!," said Gen. Torymura. "You will co‑operate with us, or you will never get out of all the possible legal trouble you could face!"
Daria seized Gen. Torymura by his lapels and threw him against the wall.
"Now you listen to me, Sir!," growled Daria. "I've got a friend on board that JAL flight and I'm scared for her! For the first time in my life, I'm worried for my family back home! The last thing I need is your military crap! We'll stop the NIRAA from blowing up Tokyo and maybe get your precious Neo-Zero back, but we want to play by our rules! Adults screw up things a lot as it is! And the last thing I need is some holier-than-thou flag officer in my face!"
Daria let go of him and he seemed to slink to the floor. He got us slowly.
"Fine, do it your way," he finally conceded; "see if I care. I'm not going to argue with a bullheaded, hotheaded American gaijin-shojo with an attitude problem. I just hope to God you save our nation, that's all."
Somehow, Daria had a humbling effect on Gen. Torymura.
"We'd better check the radar readings," he finally said. They left to go to the radar room.
Yoriko was now over Tokyo. She was trying to pick her first target. She saw the famed Sendai Hill Shrine ahead of her.
"That will be my first target!," she said.
She locked on the target on the fighter's HUD, then pressed the fire button. One of the Neo-Sidewinders ejected from the fighter and flew straight for the shrine.
Yuuichirou saw the missile firing and ran to get Rei's grandfather. However, the missile was faster than him, and it blew the shrine to matchwood.
"DIRECT HIT!!!!!!!!!!," Yoriko roared.
Yoriko then flew toward the Kuriles. The NIRAA had a secret base there, since it was in Russian jurisdiction, and Japan dared not try to follow here there. Dr. Vander Helffen was supposed to meet her there.
The radar at the SDF/USAF base was tracking the movements of the Neo-Zero. It has just seen the attack.
"Sir," said the SDF private who was checking the radar for Gen. Torymura, "I believe that the fighter just attacked in the area of Sendai Hill."
A sickening thought raced through Rei's mind when she heard that.
"Oh, no! Not Grandpa!," she screamed. There was only one thing to do: head back to the shrine.
When they got to the shrine, the TMPD as well as the Tokyo Fire Department were already on the scene. Several TMPD officers were digging through the rubble when they pulled out Yuuichirou. Rei ran up to him; he was barely alive.
"Yuuichirou," Rei said, "where's Grandpa? Is he alive?"
"I don't know," was all he said. He blacked out.
"Get him to the hospital!," one of the TMPD officers sharply ordered a paramedic. Yuuichirou was taken away.
"We've found something!," said a firefighter.
Rei raced up to where the fireman was. They had unearthed something, all right. Rei stopped in her tracks when she saw what it was. It was the short, bald corpse of her grandfather, still clad in his priestly clothes.
She yelled, "Grandpa, it's me, Rei. Please tell me you're all right!" She began to shake the corpse.
The firefighter looked for vital signs. "No pulse, no respiration," he said. " I'm sorry, Miss, but he's dead."
Rei shrieked with a loud "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!," and began to cry uncontrollably. Daria went up to her and let her rest her head on her shoulder.
"I'm very sorry, Rei," Daria said, and for the first time in her teenage life, she was beginning to cry herself. She never felt anything like this before.
"Grandpa," Rei began to say, "I will avenge your death! I will not rest until I've destroyed whoever did this to you!"
Usagi and the other Sailor Senshi began to cry as well. Mamoru gripped his gloved hands in fists of rage.
"Do not worry, Rei," he said to himself, "the Sailor Senshi and I will help you in this! This I swear!"
A couple of hours had passed in the lavatory where Ami was being held prisoner. Ami had apparently fallen asleep, for then she saw a strange light, and someone standing next to her.
"Who are you?," she asked.
"I am the spirit of Hino Rei's mother," the apparition said. "My beloved daughter prayed to me and asked me to help you. I will grant you your deepest, fondest wish in your heart."
"I wish I had my Sailor Mercury powers back so I can save the passengers."
"So it shall be done." With a wave of her hand, the ghost imparted energy into Ami, and automatically she began the transformation to Sailor Mercury. Now with new-found strength, Ami kicked down the door.
Akbar heard it, and roared, "What's going on?"
"You evil man!," shouted Ami. "I will not allow you to carry out your plan! I am Super Sailor Mercury, Champion of Love and Justice! In the name of Mercury, I will punish you!"
"The only one who will be punished here will be you, infidel!," roared back Akbar. "And Allah's punishment is the worst of all! He will condemn you to Hell, you Satan!" With that, he lunged for Sailor Mercury and applied a chokehold on her.
eyasu was watching the latest reports on both the JAL hijacking and the Neo-Zero attack. He looked outside toward the Nick that was in the backyard.
"Somehow, my old friend," he began to say to himself, "we might have to fly one more mission together."
The NHK anchorperson was continuing his report:
"In reaction to these latest developments, Tokyo-to Governor Nagai Kenji had this to say:"
"This unprovoked attack on our own citizens by this terrorist organization is highly outrageous and receives my strongest condemnation," Gov. Nagai began to say; "I an calling on the government to investigate this matter and to check into SDF security procedures as soon as this crisis is over."
The anchorperson added after that:
"The latest NHK/Yorimuri Shimbun poll now indicates that Gov. Nagai now enjoys a comfortable 32 percent margin over his nearest Liberal Democratic and Socialist opponents." He then paused as he received some word over his earphone. "We had just received a message from the person claiming to be responsible for this attack. We are now playing this audiotape as per the person's request."
The tape began playing:
"This is Amazana Yoriko of the New Imperial Rule Assistance Association. We have the Neo-Zero prototype and we are not afraid to use it. We demand that the civilian government immediately surrender to us, or else another ward of Tokyo will be bombed by the Neo-Zero prototype every three hours. Furthermore, all SDF and American military bases will also be attacked. I urge the civilian government to do the right thing and surrender. That is all."
"NHK will continue to update you on this situation," added the anchorperson.
Ieyasu turned off his TV. Now it was only a matter of time. He went to the family shrine and knelt before it. He grabbed a samurai sword that had been in his family for over ten generations and offered it up to the shrine. "Spirits of my ancestors, hear me! I will not return this sword to its place until I either have vanquished those who threaten our nation or until it is presented as an offering to my departed soul. I nay not survive this attack, but I know that I will go to a far better place than this." With that, he also grabbed the ceremonial Kamikaze headband which he wore during his service in World War II and wrapped it around his forehead. His wife, Natsume, saw what was going on, and approached him.
"What is the meaning of this?," she asked.
"Our nation is in peril once again, and I must answer the call to duty," was all he said as he went to the backyard. Natsume stood there in shock. "The gods protect him!," was all she said.
It was not long before the next attack did occur--on Shinjuku.
The Sailor Senshi were on patrol in the area. Sailor Moon, Luna, Artemis and Tuxedo Mask were in front, the rest behind.
"Keep an eye out for the jet," Tuxedo Mask said. "We don't know when another attack could occur."
Daria was right behind Sailor Moon. All she could think of right now was that Ami was in danger on board the JAL plane; Rei had suffered the loss of her grandfather; and her own family was probably at risk at home. This wasn't what she had in mind when she decided to go to Tokyo.
"Pay attention, Daria!," Sailor Jupiter said as she elbowed Daria in the back.
"I'm sorry, Mako, but I was distracted," replied Daria.
Towering above Daria were the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, the Japanese equivalent of Wall Street. Daria could see such buildings as the Mitsubishi Building, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Mitsui Building and the Matsushita Building. Somehow the image lent itself of a forest of concrete and steel trees; as in any forest, there were unseen dangers lurking.
Suddenly, it streaked out of nowhere. It was the Neo-Zero prototype! It was at its top speed of Mach 2.5.
"Heads up!," Sailor Moon yelled. With that, she grabbed her old Moon Scepter with the Silver Imperium Crystal in it and pointed it at the prototype.
"On my mark, attack!," she yelled.
Yoriko, in the cockpit, just snickered to herself. She had taken a portable CD player with her, and curiously enough, she had Soundgarden's Down on the Upside album in it. She turned it on and began playing "Ty Cobb".
"Let's rock!," she growled.
The growly voice of Chris Cornell slammed into Yoriko like a ton of bricks:
"I am sittin' in a magic hat
With smoke and mirrors
And tire rubber fires
Watch me disappear!
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
What made it slow you down
Sucking on a ball and chain
Another motherfucker goes down the drain!
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Just add it on to the hot rod death toll!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Hardheaded, fuck you all!
Just add it on to the hot rod death toll!"
Somehow every time she heard this song, Yoriko had this mental image of Ty Cobb chasing people with a big baseball bat and beating their brains out with it. She squeezed her fingers over the trigger for the Deathgrip cannon and began to fire.
"GO TO HELL, BASTARDS!!!!!!!!!!", she roared.
The bullets tore through the air like hot needles through butter. Panic had seized the people inside the office buildings, for now they were emptying and people were running in terror, straight for the Sailor Senshi.
"Citizens, please calm down!," Sailor Moon implored, but to no avail. The Sailor Senshi saw themselves jostled by the fleeing populace. It was all in vain.
Yoriko used the HUD to aim one of the Neo-Sidewinders at the Matsushita Building. She fired one of them, and the building was blown to pieces!
The force of the explosion knocked Sailor Moon to the ground. Daria helped her up.
"This is sheer madness!," Sailor Moon yelled.
"Right now, we've got to try and stop the attack," Daria yelled back.
Yoriko was flying for another pass, with the Deathgrip cannon roaring again. Several people were cut down like grass from the deadly fusillade of bullets.
Sailor Moon now knew it was now or never. She pointed her scepter at the jet fighter.
"MOON PRINCESS HALATION!!!!!!!!!!," she yelled.
The powerful beam issued from her scepter, but was easily deflected by the Neo-Zero's radar-absorbing skin.
It was now Sailor Mars' turn. She was going to use her new "Mars Fireball Attack" to bring down the plane.
"This is for you, Grandpa!," she screamed, then said "SUPER MARS FIREBALL, FLAME UP!!!!!!!!!!" Two fireballs issued from her hands, and struck squarely on the cockpit. But the plane didn't even suffer a scratch.
What no one noticed in all the confusion was that Tetsuo was in the area, and had seen all that had happened. Now he was in a side street, raising his hands in supplication to the Sun.
"Amaterasu-Omikami, give thee they mortal servant the power of the Solar Warrior!," he yelled.
The flames of power engulfed him again, and the Solar Warrior emerged.
Daria thought she could stop the plane with her own powers, or at least give it a try.
"SHABON SPRAY, FREEZING!!!!!!!!!!," she yelled.
A stream of ice gushed forth, and even managed to coat the plane, but the engines were just too warm for it to last. The ice rapidly melted.
"Dammit!," Daria snarled.
Yoriko fired another Neo-Sidewinder, this time taking out the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
"God, how I love the smell of burning concrete and steel in the morning!," she roared in pride.
Somehow, to Daria, this whole scene was beginning to look like something out of Apocalypse Now. If only either The Doors' "The End" or Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" was playing in the background, it would be eerily complete.
But now the Solar Warrior appeared out of nowhere, and stood up on some debris.
"Miscreant!," he yelled; "Cease this useless attack! I am the Solar Warrior, servant to Amaterasu-Omakami, Goddess of the Sun and Protector of the Japanese! In the name of the Sun, you will be judged!"
Sailor Moon couldn't realize what was happening first. To be fair, no one did.
Yoriko saw the Solar Warrior and sneered.
"SEE YOU IN HELL, BASTARD!!!!!!!!!", she roared as she fired the Deathgrip cannon again. The bullets, however, bounced off the Solar Warrior's armor. The Solar Warrior then pointed his gauntlets at the craft.
"SOLAR FLARE DISCHARGE ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!," he screamed.
The fiery energy discharged and hit the jet fighter squarely in the port engine. Yoriko was seen reeling.
"Dammit, dammit, dammit!," she screamed. She had difficulty stabilizing her flight, but managed to succeed. She began to limp back to the secret base in the Kuriles.
Sailor Moon and the others stood there in shock for a few minutes. They couldn't believe what they just seen. The Solar Warrior turned to them and said, "She won't be bothering anyone for a while."
"Who are you?," Sailor Moon recovered enough to ask.
"I am the Solar Warrior," he began to reply, "servant to Amaterasu-Omakami, Goddess of the Sun and Protector of Japan. I do know about you, Sailor Moon, or shall I call you Tsukino Usagi, or even yet Princess Serenity?"
"How--how do you know?," Sailor Moon wanted to know.
The Solar Warrior continued, "I am the last surviving member of the old Solar Realm that existed tens of thousands of years ago in what was known as the Golden Epoch. My race was old when yours was not even established yet. I assure you that I am on your side in this battle."
Luna, ever the doubting Thomas, said, "Prove it."
The Solar Warrior produced an old relic: a Moon Kingdom Medallion of Valor, the highest award that was ever given by that old dominion.
"This was once given to my by Queen Serenity for services rendered in stopping a Mecha-Dominion attack against her realm. This was long before you were born, Sailor Moon."
Sailor Moon and Luna both saw it. "No doubt it is the real thing," Luna finally said. "Very well, we will accept you as an ally for now."
"I'd better be going," the Solar Warrior said, then departed.
Daria seemed to be strongly drawn to the Solar Warrior, but didn't know why. Was it that he alone was fighting for his nation where everyone else was running, or that he seemed to be such a caring person as to risk all in saving complete strangers? This person wasn't like the students back home in Lawndale, the typical dumb jocks and airheads who put down brainy people like her.
"Daria, snap out of it!," Sailor Pluto said. "You're drifting again."
"Sorry," replied Daria.
Yoriko barely made it back to the secret base in the Kuriles. she jumped out of the cockpit and cursed her luck.
"Get this prototype fixed up immediately!," she shrieked.
Dr. Vander Helffen had just arrived, and he was not happy.
"What is the matter, Dr. Vander Helffen?," she asked.
"It's the Hi no Tori immortality pills," he started. "I'm almost out of them."
"WHAT?!?!?!?!?!," Yoriko yelled.
"I've been having difficulties getting the ingredients to make more," he said, "and I don't know when they'll be available. I have to make more, because if we miss even one dose, serious side effects from withdrawal will occur. Please be patient with me, and I will make more."
Dr. Vander Helffen was buying some time, but even he knew that he had to make more soon, for the pills had an addicting effect on whoever took them. Dr. Vander Helffen himself took another pill of his creation to counteract the addictive cravings, but he didn't give it to Yoriko; as long as she was addicted, she would remain loyal to him.
Yoriko, mad as ever, shrieked and stormed out of the landing area, punching out two ninja soldiers standing guard duty.
She didn't know how long it was that Akbar had her in a chokehold, but Ami somehow knew that she was on the verge of blacking out. Akbar was yelling some nonsense or something, but she was in such a oxygen-deprived stupor that it didn't make any sense.
Suddenly, someone got out of his seat and took a tray, banging it against Akbar's head. Akbar let go of Ami, took a knife from his belt, and threw it squarely into the heart of his attacker. He fell dead, but it bought Ami some time. She got up and charged right at Akbar.
They fell to the floor and rolled around, exchanging punches. Akbar then got the upper hand, held Ami down and began to sucker punch her.
"YOU WILL DIE, YOU INFIDEL BITCH!!!!!!!!!!," he yelled.
Ami summoned up enough courage and kneed Akbar in the crotch. Akbar was sent howling.
Now they stood glaring at each other. On one side was Mizuno Ami, the second of the Sailor Senshi to be discovered and veteran of numerous battles against evil; at the opposite end was Akbar el-Salaam, the terrorist who had murdered countless Israelis and swore to destroying the modern Jewish state. Ami tried to think back to whether she was in so much danger. Never, she realized. Even the first battle against the Dark Kingdom was easy. But this was different: This was a mere mortal human, with only the hatred in his heart fueling his rage.
"Give it up, Akbar! You can't win, and you know it!"
"NEVER!!!!!!!!!!," yelled Akbar; "I WILL SACRIFICE THIS WHOLE SHIP IN THE NAME OF ALLAH!!!!!!!!!!"
Ami took a look out a window. The West Coast of the United States was now visible, and in due time they'd be over it. What was not known, however, was that in a couple of hours time they'd be over Lawndale.
"God, please don't let me die!," screamed the flight attendant.
"SILENCE!!!!!!!!!!," roared Akbar.
Ami knew that if she was going to stop Akbar, now was the time. Ami threw herself right against Akbar, and the both fell against the emergency hatch.
It was about an hour before kickoff, and already a huge crowd had filled the stands at the football field. Jake, Helen and Quinn had grabbed good seats.
"If only Daria was here right now," Jake said. "This is always her favorite time of the year."
Quinn was wearing a jacket so she wouldn't be too cold. But now the temperature was a bit warm, so she took it off.
"Quinn, I hope the Fashion Club does well selling its goodies!," Helen said.
"We will, Mom," Quinn replied.
Jane then showed up.
"Jane," Quinn said, "You never show up for the big game! Why now?"
"Because," Jane replied, "someone's got to watch over you in case Beavis and Butt-Head try anything funny on you!"
Just as she said that, the familiar hideous laughter of Beavis and Butt-Head could be heard.
"Uh, where's Diarrhea?," Butt-Head asked.
"I told you, you two dolts, she's in Japan!," Quinn replied.
Beavis, who had eaten seven candy bars on the way over, went spastic and began to do his Cornhulio schtick; he pulled his shirt over his head, raised his arms, shook his fists and then screamed:
"AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! I AM THE GREAT CORNHULIO!!!!!!!!!! YOU WILL GIVE ME TEE PEE FOR MY BUNG HOLE!!!!!!!!!!"
Jane seized the both of them and gave them a quick kick to their testicles.
"Do that again, and I'll kick both your asses!," Jane roared. "Leave Quinn alone!"
"This sucks! She got us in the nads," Beavis said as they both slunk away.
"What assholes they are!," Jane said.
"Jane," Quinn said in relief, "I didn't think I was ever going to say this, but thanks for saving my bacon there."
"No problem," Jane replied. "I'll bill you later."
"You wouldn't!," Quinn said.
"Then again," added Jane rather quickly, "I'll let this be a freebie this time."
The Lawndale Militia was poised to strike at any time. Poindexter, however, was getting antsy.
"When are we going to strike?," he asked.
"Soon," was all that Anthony Corlew said. "Patience is a virtue that a good soldier must have. We will strike when it is to our advantage."
Anthony knew that soon the hammer would fall. But what he didn't know was that his plans would soon be turned on its head.
ack at the JAL plane, the fight between Ami and Akbar was now at a fever pitch. Akbar gave a kidney punch to Ami, sending her reeling. Ami staggered a bit from the blow, but wasn't down for the count yet.
"I WILL KILL YOU IN THE NAME OF ALLAH!!!!!!!!!," Akbar screamed. With that, he opened the emergency hatch, and air gushed into the cabin. Everything that wasn't nailed down was blowing around the cabin. Akbar seized Ami and tried to toss her out of the open door. Ami, however, hung on with all the strength she could muster within herself. Ami took a good look at the device on Akbar: the clock said it would go off in ten minutes. Ami realized that she didn't have too much time left.
"I WILL SEE YOU BURN IN HELL!!!!!!!!!!," Akbar roared. He banged on Ami's left hand, causing her to momentarily lose her grip. She regained it as the wind was howling in her face.
Suddenly, Ami kneed Akbar in the testicles, sending him howling. Ami clambered back on board; what she had to do had to be done quickly.
"SHABON SPRAY, FREEZING!!!!!!!!!!," she yelled.
With that, Akbar was frozen solid. Ami pushed him from behind and sent him then and there through the open emergency exit and into the air!
Somehow, Ami thought she heard a muffled "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!" as he fell, down, down, down, tens of thousands of feet. The frozen body then landed in the ocean, and plunged, deep, deep, deep into the water. A shark saw Akbar and ate him whole. The shark then swam away. By then, the nuclear device went off, with the shark at ground zero and only killing whatever lives deep down in the furthest reaches of the ocean. Lawndale had been spared of one horror, but another was to come soon.
The game was about to get underway at Lawndale. The PA system crackled to life:
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to Lawndale High School! This afternoon your Lawndale Lions will take on the Highland Fighting Trojans!"
With that, the announcer went into the usual descriptions of the starting lineups. After announcing that for Highland, Brittany and the other cheerleaders took to the field as the opening lineup for Lawndale was announced. As soon as it was time to announce the starting quarterback, the announcer took on the usual tone of fake enthusiasm appropriate for such occasions:
"And, last but not least, here is your starting quarterback, the one, the only, KEVIN THOMPSON!!!!!!!!!!"
Kevin got onto the field, and Brittany gave him a big hug and a kiss. The crowd was going crazy.
"GO GET 'EM, KEVIN!!!!!!!!!!," Brittany said.
"I will, Cupcake!," Kevin replied.
The announcer continued: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, would you please rise and direct your attention to the fifty yard line as the band Mystik Spiral will play our National Anthem."
Trent and Jesse--along with bassist Nicholas Campbell and drummer Max Tyler--were all set in mid-field. Jesse began to strum the guitar, and launched into a Jimi Hendrix-style solo. Trent got up to the microphone and began to sing:
"Oh, yeah, oh, oh say, oh say, can you see, man
By the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed
At the twilight's last gleaming."
Trent then gave a jagged guitar lick, with Jesse and Nicholas keeping in tempo; Trent continued:
"Yeah, whose broad stripes and bright stars
Through the perilous fight (another screeching guitar lick from Jesse)
O'er the ramparts we watched/Were so gallantly streaming."
The guitars went into overdrive, with Max pounding the drums furiously.
"And the rocket's red glare," shrieked Trent
Trent suddenly gave a note-for-note rendition of Hendrix's guitar burst at that point of the song, except this went on for five minutes.
"The bombs bursting in air," continued Trent.
Another five-minute guitar attack.
After that, Trent sang:
"Gave proof through the night
That our flag was still there."
Suddenly, Jesse began to strum the opening bars of "Chopin's Funeral March."
Trent went into his big finish: "Oh, oh, oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave."
Another long screeching note from Jesse.
"O'er the land of the free. . .," Trent sand, and held the last note for a few seconds.
Trent gave a long, screeching note on his guitar.
Trent finished with, "And the home of the brave."
All of a sudden, Trent and Jesse both crashed into a loud guitar crescendo: "DUH, DUH, DUH, DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH," while at the same time Trent sang, "America! America! America! Land of the free, baby!" After that, Max ended the song by banging twice a gong that had "A J. Arthur Rank Enterprise" written on it. After that, Trent flashed a peace sign, and said "Peace, dudes!"
At first, everyone just stood there in stone cold silence. Jane then began to clap. Slowly, everyone else began to clap as well. Trent took a bow, as did the other members of Mystik Spiral. They left the field, with the applause still ringing through the stadium. Ms. Li smiled to herself and thought that this was $1000 well spent.
There was a pause as the musical equipment was being cleared off the field. Soon, both teams took to the field. The captains for each team were huddled around the referee for the coin toss.
"Mr. Mackenzie," the referee said, "As captain for the home team, you will call the toss. This coin I have is a real, honest-to-goodness replica of the infamous Batman villain Two-Face's lucky two-faced coin; a double-obverse 1922 Peace Dollar. You will either call 'Good side up!' or 'Scarred side up!' Do you understand?"
"Why is that coin being used?," was all that Mack said.
"Don't sweat it son," the referee said, "this coin was donated by one of the sponsors of the Lawndale football team, Lawndale Comics and Anime on Sugarbush Avenue in the middle of downtown Lawndale." Since he was wired to a mike, everyone could hear him. "Don't forget everyone, go there now for the big Sailor Moon fan subbed video sale! All episodes ten percent off! And we'll give you an extra thirty percent off on the infamous episode where Sailor Jupiter brags about the size of her breasts if you can correctly guess her bra size!"
"Ms. Li set you up to this as one of her money making schemes, didn't she?," Mack asked.
"It only gets worse, son," the referee continued. "The stadium is now being called Surge Cola Stadium!"
Mack groaned. "All right, already!," he said resignedly; "I'll call 'Good side up.'"
The referee flipped the coin, and it landed good side up.
"Good side up," the referee said; "Your team wins the toss. Do you wish to kick or receive?
"We'll receive," replied Mack.
"OK," said the referee; "good luck, gentlemen."
Mack turned to Kevin and said, "Ms. Li has gone too far in selling out our school!"
Highland kicked off the ball to open the game. Mack grabbed the ball, but only got as far as the twelve yard line before he was tackled.
Kevin, Mack and the others now huddled around for the first play.
"Mack," Kevin said, "you fake out toward the right and go for the long pass!"
"That's probably where they would expect us to try!," responded Mack.
"Hey, it'll work, trust me!," reassured Kevin.
They broke huddle and then Kevin called the play. Mack faked right and then zoomed to the left. Kevin tried to make the pass, but then two hulking Highland tackles lunged right for him, forcing Kevin to retreat past his own goal line. In desperation he tired to make the pass, but then he was tackled for the safety.
"And Highland grabs an early 2-0 lead by making a safety!," said the PA announcer.
Brittany looked on and got disappointed. But then she got the cheerleaders going on one of their best cheers:
"C'mon, Lawndale, roar, roar, roar! C'mon, Lawndale, roar, roar, roar!"
Meanwhile, Quinn and the other members of the Fashion Club were selling their goodies. Unfortunately, when they passed by Beavis and Butt-Head, those two acted up again.
"Uh, do you want to score with Beavis and me?," Butt-Head asked Sandi.
"Like, get away from me!," shrieked Sandi.
"Hey, here comes Diarrhea's sister! Let's hit up on her again!," Beavis said.
Quinn saw those two coming.
"If you even think of harassing me," she said, "I'll have Jane beat up the both of you into a bloody pulp!"
"Did you hear that, Beavis," Butt-Head said, "she wants to make up popes!"
"Will I get to wear that funny pointed hat and all that?," asked Beavis.
"I said, 'PULP,' not 'POPE!!!!!!!!!!!,'", shrieked Quinn.
"Hey, Butt-Head," Beavis said, "Do you ever noticed the similarities between Quinn and that chick Gabrielle from 'Xena: Warrior Princess'?"
"Yeah," replied Butt-Head, "they're both dirty blondes, they both have bare midriffs and they both have big hooters!"
They began their hideous laughter.
"Score with us, Quinn!," Beavis said.
"Yeah, score with us!," added Butt-Head.
"JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANE!!!!!!!!!," screamed Quinn.
Jane was there at a moment's notice. She got the both of them and kicked their asses real good.
"Next time, you'll be in the hospital!," Jane warned.
Beavis and Butt-Head were bruised up.
"Hey, Butt-Head, does it hurt?," Beavis wanted to know.
"Only when I laugh, Beavis," replied Butt-Head; he began to laugh, then began to howl, "OWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!"
While all that was going on, Highland scored a touchdown; with the two-point conversion, the score was now 10-0 in their favor.
Meanwhile, the JAL plane was now pretty close to Lawndale. Ami has just closed the emergency door and made her way to the cockpit. She was hoping to contact the nearest airport, but then she noticed that after Akbar told the press about his hijacking the plane, he had also shot out the radio. This was only going to make the task of getting the plane down safely that much more difficult. But she noticed an even bigger concern: the plane was critically low on fuel.
Ami raced out of the cockpit and got to the flight attendant, who was now topless since the force of the air rushing in from the emergency door ripped off what was left of her bra.
"Miss, you've got to tell the passengers to prepare for an emergency landing!," Ami said.
"We're going to crash, aren't we?," the flight attendant asked.
"Perhaps we will," said Ami, "but right now we don't have many options left. Our fuel is almost exhausted."
On that note, the flight attendant instructed everyone to prepare for a emergency crash landing. Ami then grabbed a piece of carry-on luggage she had and gave the flight attendant a blouse of hers to wear ; luckily, they had the same blouse size, though they didn't have the same bra size.
Everyone on board thought that this was going to be the end.
As was custom in Japan, the funeral was conducted by Buddhist rites; almost all of them were, since there are few Christians in the nation, and Shinto took a rather dim view of the afterlife.
The Buddhist monk officiating the ceremonies was a friend of Rei's grandfather; at one time he was himself a Shinto priest.
"We mourn for the death of this great man," began the monk; "but we must remember that now he goes to be with Buddha in Nirvana, to a far greater place than this troublesome world. His death was utterly meaningless, but he will now find the ultimate meaning to life, the Universe, and everything. Farewell, my brother in the faith."
He then scattered flower petals into the grave, followed by all those in attendance. All of the Sailor Senshi and Daria were present. Except for Rei, they were wearing the usual Western black mourning clothes; Rei was wearing her miko's outfit. She laid into the grave besides petals one of her "demon banishment scrolls". Daria didn't have a simple black dress to wear and had to buy one from a store in the Ginza; it was one of those drop-dead minidresses and she was also suckered into buying a pair of those dark brown stockings that seem to go well with such a dress and a pair of high heels. Already they were murder on her feet. "Whoever invented high heel shoes must have been a guy;" she began to say; "he should have been strung up the nearest tree."
Rei, after she left the grave, collapsed into tear; Usagi and Mamoru both hugged her. Daria stood by and watched.
"I've lost everything that gave meaning to my life: my grandfather, the shrine, ,my peace of mind!"
"You still have Yuuichirou and your crows," Usagi replied, "and you still have us."
"You can stay with me until they rebuild the shrine," Mamoru offered.
Rei cried bitterly. Suddenly, she left their embrace, grabbed a samurai sword that was hidden beneath her hakama and looked like she was going to commit seppuku; women usually did that by stabbing the sword through the throat, and not by slitting the belly like men did.
"REI, NO!!!!!!!!!!", everyone shouted.
"No, I will not commit seppuku. However, I call upon Amaterasu-Omikami herself to witness my vows. I will not rest until the person responsible for killing my grandfather is finally brought to justice. Either this blade will go through the heinous person's heart, or it will go through my own throat. I will avenge your death, Grandpa, and I know you will not rest until I have done so! I have sworn!"
Everyone left the cemetery chilled to the bones. Somehow, Daria had this mental image in her head of a hand emerging from a pool of blood, setting out letters that spelled out the word "CHILLER" and then sinking back into the pool of blood while an eerie voice said "CHILLER!!!!!!!!!!" Somehow this seemed sickeningly appropriate.
Everyone had gone to Mamoru's apartment for the post-funeral reception. Rei didn't have any other living relatives other than her estranged father, who she hadn't spoken to in years. She left him because she held him responsible for the death of her mother; they were driving back from a party and he was drunk; they crashed into a tree, killing her instantly. It was after that incident that Rei left him and went to Sendai Hill Shrine, ran by her now late maternal grandfather. There were some old friends of his and some students that Rei recognized from her junior high school days. Then there were everyone else's friends and family. Kenji, Usagi's father, went up to Rei.
"I am so sorry about what happened," Kenji said.
"Grandpa was such a beloved man," answered Rei. "He will be sorely missed."
Kenji then recognized Daria.
"There you are, Daria, he said; "I didn't notice you without the combat fatigues you usually wear. I have to admit with that dress on, you almost look human."
"Frankly, formal wear like this isn't my style," Daria answered him; "I once wore this bare-shouldered dress to a wedding since I was going to be the bridesmaid, and I didn't like it."
Kenji said, "Actually, I thought you were more the person who likes to wear slacks or combat pants, but you always wear that same drab olive jacket, orange shirt, black knee-length skirt and combat boots."; Kenji had seen Daria a couple of times since she came over, mainly when she stopped by Usagi's house for dinner a couple of times.
"OK, OK, I'll let you in on a little secret," confessed Daria; "I've actually got better‑looking legs that my sister, Quinn, but don't tell her about it because then she'll probably steal every skirt I own."
"What about your sister, anyway?," Kenji wanted to know.
"She's the vice-president of my hometown high school's Fashion Club," began Daria. "She kind of looks like Gabrielle from Xena: Warrior Princess because she likes to wear shirts that leave her midriff bare and also has almost the same hair color and hairstyle. She's a complete airhead." With that, Daria broke into a rare smile. Somehow, with Usagi's parents, she felt at ease with them, because at least they knew what they were doing. Back home, her father was so wishy-washy and her mother was so domineering.
Ikuko joined her husband.
"There you are, dear," she said. "You should try this clam dip; I hear that Mamoru made this himself and it's pretty good."
"Later, dear," Kenji said.
Daria took a good look at herself in a nearby mirror. She had to admit that she didn't ever look as beautiful as she did now. What she really wanted to do was to fantasize how'd she look like in one of those armored bikinis like some of those heroines she had been seeing in anime since she came over. The day after she arrived here, Ami and she watched "Leda: The Fantastic Adventure of Yohko" on video, and Daria thought that Yohko's outfit was rather cool, if a bit sexist. That was the type of outfit she wished she wore, and not that frumpy seirafuku she had now as Sailor Mercury. Ami said that "Leda" was one of her favorite anime of all time, and admitted that she was an "otaku", or fan of anime herself. She thought back to what they were doing after they saw the film. They were in their bedclothes, and were gossiping in Ami's room.
"I really like Yohko, she's a woman who's true to herself despite the fact that she's an innocent woman trapped in a situation not of her own making," Ami said.
"Well," Daria replied, "I thought it was a bit derivative of "Red Sonja" and "Xena", but otherwise it was OK. I just wish she didn't dote on that guy so much. She's got to realize that she can stand up on her own two feet without any guy's help."
"Are you a feminist?," asked Ami.
"Yes;" replied Daria; "I got it from my mother, as well as my science teacher, Ms. Barch. That last person is a real hoot. I swear every time in class, she says that 'All men are scum!'"
Ami got a good laugh over that.
"What's so funny?," Daria wanted to know.
"It's just that your science teacher seems to write off men so easily," replied Ami. "In Japan there's really no such problems like that."
"Really, then why are women still treated the way they are?," demanded Daria.
Ami responded, "Oh, I guess you keep hearing the reports about how men are so aloof and treat women like property. But did you know how much power real Japanese housewives have?"
"How much?," asked Daria.
"Enough to make any grown man cry in his sake!," giggled Ami.
Somehow, after the description that Ami gave about how wives made men stick to a little stipend from their salaries and controlled many aspects of their children's education, Daria broke into the biggest smile she ever had. But then she asked if that was the case, them why become a doctor.
"My mother's a doctor," began Ami, "and her father before that. She told me how Grandpa was a doctor tending to the wounded during the war. It was pretty brutal business, especially toward the end. After the war, he set up a private practice, and encouraged my mother to take up the practice, since she was an only child and someone had to carry on the business. At first she was hesitant, but then she met one person who changed her life."
"Who?," Daria wanted to know.
Ami's answer was surprising:
"Dr. Tezuka Osamu. I guess you know him from his works Tetsuwan Atom and Jungle Taitei".
"You mean to tell me that the man who created Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion was a doctor?"
"Yes," Ami continued, "and he told my mother that there was no nobler profession than that of helping your fellow man in his time of need. My mother then decided that being a doctor was a worthwhile goal."
"I'm impressed, "said a very impressed Daria; she was not one who was easily impressed.
"My father, who's an artist, also thinks I should pursue an artistic career on the side," continued Ami.
"If you ever visit Lawndale," Daria said, "you should check out my friend Jane Lane; she's an aspiring artist. Hell, her whole family is. Except her brother, Trent; he's a rock musician."
"Daria," Ami asked, "you looked a bit embarrassed when you mentioned him. Are you in love with him?"
"I'll admit that I am," confessed Daria. "It's kind of like the situation with Usagi and Mamoru. I just can't seem to get the words out, like he knows that I'm there, but he just doesn't seem to know."
"Does he call you 'Dumpling-Head' at times?," inquired Ami.
"No, nothing insulting like that," said Daria. "Hell, he doesn't have an insulting bone in his body. He's just a bit spacey, that's the major flaw in his character."
Ami got a good laugh over that.
"You know, Daria, you're different," replied Ami; "You're really honest about yourself and about other people."
"Well, I like to tell it like it is," said Daria.
Ami then added, "Daria, one of these days I will visit Lawndale and see all your friends and family."
"I guarantee you won't have a dull moment there," assured Daria.
Daria's train of thought was interrupted when someone turned on the TV. The NHK announcer was delivering the nightly news, and there was one interesting matter:
"Tokyo-to Governor Nagai Kenji now has a commanding lead over his opponents in the latest NHK/Yorimuri Shimbun poll. Nagai, the Komeito candidate for the empty seat for Tokyo-to in the House of Representatives, now has a fifty-five percent approval rating as opposed to his Liberal Democratic, Socialist, Social Democratic and Communist opponents. Nagai's portraying himself as a "law and order" candidate as well as a reformer seems to have struck a chord with voters who are gravely concerned over the recent crises that have seem to hit Japan like a typhoon. As for the Neo-Zero crisis, NHK will continue to update that situation as conditions warrant."
The sun was setting now over Tokyo. Daria had a strange feeling that she wanted to be anywhere else right now than here. She excused herself from the reception and went back to Ami's house. There she decided to go to bed. For some strange reason she decided to wear Ami's football jersey nightshirt. As she fell asleep, a strange dream began to unfold. . .
The repairs to the Neo-Zero were taking longer than expected. Yoriko was clearly showing her impatience with the whole affair.
"I want that engine repaired in the next fifteen minutes or heads will roll!," Yoriko shrieked.
Dr. Vander Helffen sensed Yoriko's frustrations and went to her.
"All will be ready in good time," he said.
"Dr. Vander Helffen," Yoriko yelled, "I will not rest until that traitor Ryu and the Solar Warrior are both dead!"
"Yoriko, you are beginning to lose sight of the goal," warned Dr. Vander Helffen. "We are to take over the nation first; later we will deal with those who have opposed us."
"That may be your way, but it is not mine!," said Yoriko. "And you better have more of the Hi no Tori pills for me soon or I will take matters into my own hands!" With that, she stormed out again.
Dr. Vander Helffen realized that soon he might have to take matters into his own hands as well.
Daria had the sensation that the alarm had went off, but she had just fallen asleep. She looked at the alarm and realized that she was running late for school.
"AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! I'm late for school! First day! I'm late!," she shrieked.
Then, it seemed that she took off her nightshirt and ran for the closet--wearing nothing but her panties--to grab a bra. But when she got to the closet, she fell through it and was falling deep, deep, into a hole. When she landed, it looked like she was in the middle of a bombed-out area.
"Great," said Daria in her usual deadpan manner; "here I am virtually naked, everyone can see how small-breasted I am, and I'm in the middle of a war zone. Right now, I bet some Huns are going to swoop out of nowhere and grab me."
Just as she said, some Huns swooped out of nowhere and grabbed her. but just then, someone was standing in their path.
"Ne'er-do-well'ers!," the man said, "I am the Solar Warrior, servant to Amaterasu-Omakami, Goddess of the Sun! In the name of the Sun, you will be judged!"
Then he spread out his hands and the power began to glow in the discs in each hand.
"SOLAR FLARE DISCHARGE ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!," the Solar Warrior yelled.
The solar flares streamed from his hands and burned the Huns to a crisp; Daria, however, was not injured. The Solar Warrior approached her.
"This is kind of a bad time to see me, since I'm naked," Daria said.
But the Solar Warrior, it seemed, summoned some solar energy and dressed her up in a seirafuku.
"Do not be afraid of me, Daria," he said; "I will protect you from all harm." He seemed to draw closer. They were on the verge of kissing each other. They kissed, but then Daria was wrenched awake by someone shaking her shoulder.
"Daria, get up! We have to go to SDF HQ on the double!," said a voice.
It was Minako, and she looked like she went through Hell herself. She wasn't even in her Sailor Venus seirafuku but instead was wearing a green T-shirt and blue jeans. Her eyes had black bags under them for lack of sleep, and her hair was a bit disheveled.
"Minako, you interrupted me in the middle of the best dream I've ever had for this?," said Daria rather groggily
"Sorry, but this is urgent!," replied Minako.
"Now I know how Samuel Taylor Colleridge must have felt when that insurance salesman interrupted him right in the middle of writing 'Kubla Kahn'," sneered Daria. She flung on a black T-shirt and blue jeans, the same outfit she wore while on her ill-fated trip to Alternapalooza. Somehow the irony wasn't lost on her. It was a weird dream. She never had such intense feelings for a guy before in her life. But her heart belonged to Trent, and she could never tell the Solar Warrior how much she cared for him. Daria was soon on her way to SDF HQ.
The FAA facility near Lawndale International Airport was a pretty critical facility; its radar could cover a six state area. So there was concern when an aircraft appeared out of nowhere on the screen. One of the air traffic controllers immediately spotted that it was the hijacked JAL flight.
"Oh, my god! The hijacker is bringing the JAL plane here!," he spewed out as soon as he realized where it was going.
Everyone was now in a state of panic. The plane was nearing Lawndale. Since word that the attempt to stop the plane failed since the task force based in Japan was not dispatched due to the Neo-Zero hijacking, everyone was shuddering to think where the plane would eventually wind up in. It was heading for Lawndale. Phone calls were made to the White House, the Pentagon and to the nearest USAF base. Hell had come to Lawndale, and it was on board a Boeing 747.
Right now, at 25,000 feet, all that Ami could think about was that fuel was now almost exhausted. The needle crept up to "E".
The flight attendant came into the cockpit.
"Everyone is ready for an emergency landing," she said.
Ami then said, "You've got to tell me how I can keep this plane level enough to make a belly landing."
"You'll have to grab the stick and keep it level," instructed the flight attendant; " But first you'll have to disengage the auto pilot."
The flight attendant went over to the auto pilot and deactivated it. Now the needle was right on "E". The engines were still running, but within a few seconds, they began to grind to a halt. Ami could see Lawndale right in front of her, and saw that the plane was going to head right for a football stadium. The plane began to fall down, nose first, and Ami and the others were thrown violently toward the front. Ami grabbed the stick and tried to keep the plane level. Somehow, the plane was fighting her, though.
"If I don't survive this, let the rest of the Sailor Senshi avenge my death!," said Ami to herself.
Things were not going too good for Lawndale; they were now trailing 24-7. Kevin had just fumbled the ball and was now getting a good chewing out from Mack.
"Kevin, you idiot, you're giving the game to Highland on a silver platter!," shrieked Mack.
Kevin shot back, "Give me a break, Mack! I'm under a lot of pressure!"
"If we don't win this game," warned Mack, "we might as well write off any hopes of winning the conference title, and perhaps even the state playoffs!"
While that was going on, Beavis and Butt-Head made one more attempt to score on Quinn.
"Hey, Quinn, let's blow this game! It sucks! Go back to our place and let's score!", Beavis said.
"If you don't leave me alone, I'm going to do something drastic!," screamed Quinn.
Just then, everyone heard a loud "WHOOSH!!!!!!!!!!" Suddenly, the JAL 747 fell out of the sky. It seemed to be stable, but then it was too close to the stadium; it flew by it, and grazed a set of lights. The tower fell down. Everyone ran in panic.
"WHOA!!!!!!!!!! I think there're filming Black Sunday II!", Butt-Head said.
"Wait a minute, dillweed! Black Sunday was about a blimp!", Beavis replied.
"No, assmunch!," shot back Butt-Head. "That was The Hindenburger or something like that!"
"I'll blow up your blimp, asswipe!," warned Beavis.
"Go ahead and try, Beavis!," dared Butt-Head.
They got into a fistfight. Quinn tried to get away but those two saw her go, then broke off their fight and went after her. Quinn ran screaming.
Ami tried her best to keep the plane level, but hitting the stadium lights didn't help matters. The plane was almost on the ground now. Ami tried to concentrate, but it was no use; the stick was still fighting her.
"Pull up! Pull up!," the flight attendant screamed. "WE'RE GOING TO CRASH!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!"
The plane hit the ground like a lead balloon. It bounced and broke into several pieces before finally coming to rest. Ami saw the flight attendant crash through the windshield and into a tree, killing her instantly. Ami conked her head against the stick and began to black out. "Not now, not now. . . . .," she said, then lapsed into unconsciousness.
Anthony Corlew saw what happened, and took it for a sign.
"ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!", he roared. Now the Lawndale Militia raced forward and the various troops stormed City Hall, the Police Station and the Courthouse. Soon enough, since there was only token resistance, they had taken over all three buildings.
Anthony boldly entered the Mayor's office, sat down in the chair, and propped his feet on his desk.
"Gentlemen, at long last, Lawndale is ours!," he said in triumph.
It was the bleakest hour in Lawndale's history.
hen Ami came to, she could see in the haze that wreckage was strewn everywhere. She was feeling groggy. There were flames everywhere, since there was some flammable material on board, and the smell of burning flesh was everywhere. Ami though her eyes were playing tricks on her when she thought she saw two familiar faces. She began to speak, though she still was a bit groggy-headed:
"Usagi-chan, Mamoru, is that you? And if it is, why are you in that ridiculous cheerleading uniform, Usagi-chan, and why is Mamoru dressed up like a American rules football player?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Brittany said. "My name is Brittany Taylor, head cheerleader at Lawndale High; this is my boyfriend, Kevin Thompson, star quarterback for our team." She was twirling her hair again.
Ami was now getting used to her surroundings. The moans of the injured and dying could be heard everywhere. The wreckage was scattered for about several hundred feet. At least the plane managed to avoid the football field.
Ami now began to ask questions: "Where am I?"
"You're in Lawndale," Kevin responded.
"Are there any casualties?," Ami wanted to know.
"We saw a lot of icky dead bodies around here! EWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!," Brittany responded.
Ami could see that there was a lot of carnage around. It was sickening. Ami felt like she wanted to throw up. She staggered, not noticing that she had a big gash on her head, the result of the tiara she wore cutting into her forehead when it hit the control stick. The blood was dripping all over her seirafuku. It was like something out of a nightmare, except this was for real. At least Akbar had been thrown out of the plane along with his nuclear device before it went off. That would have made matters infinitely worse. Ami began to count the small blessings right now.
"I only hope that word gets out that I'm OK to my friends back in Japan", she said. She now saw the damage to herself. The blouse of her seirafuku was ripped, and part of her bra beneath that was ripped off, exposing her left breast. Her miniskirt was also tattered, and her boots were scuffed. Ami needed some attention.
"We've got to have a doctor check you out!," Kevin stated.
"OK by me," Ami replied. Ami was so overwhelmed by what she saw that she began to cry. She was going to Germany so she could become a doctor and help end people's suffering, but now she needed some of that attention herself. Somehow, she thought she saw a vision of Amaterasu-Omikami before her. She began to speak some words or encouragement to her:
"My child, be strong. The world is in peril, but you and your friends will prevail. Thus have I sworn!' The vision seemed to dissolve.
"Amaterasu-Omakami!," Ami cried out; "Don't leave me in my time of need!" She stretched her arms out to the vision, which had now completely vanished.
Ami collapsed and began to cry furiously.
Brittany herself was now on the verge of tears. She hugged Kevin.
"Why us? Why our community? Why now?," she sobbed.
"I wish I knew the answers, Brittany," was all that Kevin could say.
The football field was all in confusion now. Everyone was on the field, tending to whoever they could find alive. Mr. DeMartino went to Ms. Li and spoke to her rather harshly:
"I hope you're goddamn satisfied! You went ahead with the game and we just became the target of an international terrorist! I will report this matter to the State Education Department!"
"If you do that," Ms. Li warned, "I'll see to it that you never work in this state as a teacher ever again! Hell, I'll make sure you can't work in this entire country as a teacher ever again! The only way you'll ever get a job teaching is in some straw hut in Burkina Faso as part of the Peace Corps!"
Mr. DeMartino couldn't hold his anger against her back any longer. His right eye bulged out and he yelled:
"Angela Li, you are nothing but a greedy, egotistical bitch!"
With that, he huffed out of the area.
Timothy O'Neill, the English teacher, was tending to someone who just went to cardiac arrest. He was performing CPR. A doctor checked the person over.
"I'm sorry, but we've lost him," the doctor said.
Mr. O'Neill stood there, the life drained out of him. He began to weep.
Jane and Quinn were tending to someone who had a broken leg. Quinn took some wooden boards that were laying on the side while Jane took her jacket off, ripped it up and used the strips to bind the boards to the leg. Soon enough he was taken to Lawndale Hospital.
In all the commotion no one noticed when a group of Lawndale Militia soldiers approached the football field. Anthony stood in front of the troops.
"Now, people, we've got the town!," he announced. "Now, let's take its people!" With that they stormed into the facility, guns blazing. The charging troops lead to mass panic everywhere.
In the confusion, Jane and Quinn were separated. Jane lost track of where Quinn was. Quinn was being jostled by the crowd. Then, suddenly, an arm jerked her out of the crowd.
"Jane, am I glad to see you!," Quinn began to say, but then she saw who yanked her, and heard the hideous laughter. Quinn screamed as Beavis began to grope her breasts while Butt-Head grabber her legs. Those two picked her up and carried her off.
"I'm gonna go home and spank my monkey!," Beavis said.
"Yeah, then we're going to score!," Butt-Head added.
Ami, Brittany and Kevin saw what was going on from a few feet away.
"Oh, my god! Beavis and Butt-Head just kidnapped Quinn!," Brittany shrieked.
Ami saw what was going on, and tried to summon whatever energy she had left to use her Shabon Spray, but the exertion was too much. She began to black out.
Mr. DeMartino saw what was going on. "Everyone who can, retreat to the school!," he shouted.
Many people did. The whole area was becoming a mob scene. Chaos was now ruling Lawndale.
Beavis and Butt-Head had arrived at the bus stop with Quinn. Quinn was pleading with her captors:
"Please let me go! I'll do anything you want! My parents are loaded! They'll pay you any ransom you want!"
"Shut up, bitch!," Beavis snapped at her. "We're going to score with you, and you'll just lay back and enjoy it! I'm getting a stiffie just thinking about it! HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!!!!!!!"
Butt-Head joined in with his "UH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH!!!!!!!!!!"
The bus pulled up to the stop. Quinn screamed for help. Beavis, however, got on board, kicked off the driver, and let Butt-Head and Quinn in. Beavis took over driving the bus, which was empty. Butt-Head undid Quinn's bra and used it as a gag.
"Man, you've got big hooters!," Butt-Head said as he looked underneath Quinn's shirt. Quinn slapped him.
"OWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! You bitch! Why'd you do that? I was just complimenting you!"
Beavis drove live a demon all the way back to Highland.
Lawndale High now had the air of a M*A*S*H unit. The injured were everywhere. Doctors and nurses were taking care of them. At the auditorium, all those who were able were gathered. Ami had her injuries tended to, and now was feeling a bit better. Mr. DeMartino was on stage, and he had a TV set on. The news was grim. The Lawndale Militia now had control of the entire town, and all but forty-five passengers had died in the crash, and the death toll was mounting. Bobbie Baptistia on CNN stated that the militia had seized the mayor, the police chief and the city judge. Things were grim outside as well: The report of the Neo-Zero theft and the subsequent bombing of Tokyo were given just a much coverage. Ami went into shock when she heard that.
"My friends! Who knows if they're all right?," Ami wondered.
Jane was also worried, since Daria was over there.
"Good god!," she said, "I hope Daria is all right!"
Ami turned around and saw Jane.
"Jane Lane, right?," she asked.
Jane was stunned; "Yeah, how did you know?," she asked.
Ami replied, "I'm Mizuno Ami, Daria's friend." Right now was not the time to beat around the bush about her secret identity as Sailor Mercury; besides, they had taken off her clothes when they tended to her injuries and gave her a Lawndale High T-shirt and blue jeans to wear.
"You're the one who asked Daria over to Japan!," Jane continued. "How did you wind up here, and what's happened to Daria?"
"It's a complicated story," Ami began. "And I don't know anything about this Neo-Zero business. I didn't have anything to do with the JAL plane being hijacked, either, in case you were wondering about that."
Jane took a close look at Ami. Somehow she could sense the spiritual affinity that she shared with Daria. Daria and Jane, after all, were the least liked in school, and it seemed that Ami seemed to be in that same category, or at least she had suffered some hardships.
"Ami, you're not telling me the whole story here," Jane shot back. "What's happening here? What's happening to all of us?"
Ami looked deep into Jane's blue eyes. She could sense that Jane really valued Daria even if the rest of the school didn't.
"How long have you known each other?," she asked her.
"Ever since we met in kindergarten," Jane replied; "My family moved here from Highland after second grade, but then Daria moved here a couple of years back. Not only that, she's got a crush on my brother Trent."
Suddenly, Ami could see deep into Jane's soul. She could see Daria and Trent. She could see them about to kiss, but it seemed that suddenly Queen Beryl came out of nowhere and snatched Trent from Daria. "This isn't right!," she said, and began to black out.
"It must be the medicine they gave you," Jane told her; "It's probably playing tricks on your brain."
Ami felt that had to be it. She remembered that it was Endymion who was taken away from Princess Serenity, not Trent from Daria. but somehow the shock of everything was taking its toll on her. She collapsed.
"Ami, Ami, are you OK?," yelled Jane, shaking Ami.
Nothing was OK for her. She seemed to have been transported into the middle of a raging sea. She was now nude. Suddenly, it seemed every enemy the Sailor Senshi ever faced swarmed out of nowhere.
"Now we will have our revenge!," roared Kunzite, and it seemed he had a long dagger that he flung right at Ami. Ami dodged it, only to bump up right against Ann.
"I never got to kiss Mamoru, and it's all your fault!," she yelled.
With that, it seemed Ann drew out a red-hot poker and stuck it right across Ami's abdomen. Ami seemed to be screaming in agony.
Sailor Galaxia came out of nowhere and seemed to rip open the heavens and the earth. Ami seemed to be sucked into a black hole. When she hit bottom, she seemed to be in an area that was completely dark. She was now clad in her Sailor Mercury seirafuku. Suddenly, strong, intense shafts of light appeared, and the rest of the Sailor Senshi stood there, with scowls on their faces. Not only that, but it seemed that Tuxedo Mask and Moonlight Knight were there as well, along with many of her other friends.
"Grandpa is dead now because you wanted to go to Germany!" Rei seemed to scream. Then she brandished a demon banishment scroll and shrieked "AKURYO TAISAN!!!!!!!!!!" in the loudest voice possible as she flung the scroll at Ami.
"I think you had plenty to do with Mamoru breaking up with me five years ago after Chibi-Usa arrived," Usagi said. "For that, you will pay! MOON PRINCESS HALATION!!!!!!!!!!!" Ami seemed to be screaming in agony.
"You're the real 'Dumpling Head' around here! You abandoned us! You betrayed us!," Tuxedo Mask said as he flung a rose dart.
Everyone was yelling over and over again, "COWARD!!!!!!!!!! TRAITOR!!!!!!!!!! SPINELESS COWARD!!!!!!!!!!"
The voices seemed to be going on and on and on and on. . .
Finally, Ami couldn't take it any more, and began screaming, "MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!!!!!"
Suddenly, a bright red flash ripped Ami back to reality. It seemed that Mr. DeMartino slapped her across the face to calm her down.
"Sorry, kid, but I had to do that to calm you down," he began. The TV was turned off now, and he went back to the stage. It seemed that he was going to make a speech.
"I knew that the day would come," he began, with his right eye once again bulging out, "that something like this was going to happen. Mr. Corlew and his associates in the Lawndale Militia had been plotting to overthrow the local government for some time now. But I was not going to stand idly by and let them get away with it! NO!!!!!!!!!!! NOT I, ANTHONY DEMARTINO!!!!!!!!!! I was prepared for this!"
He paused to draw the curtains of the stage, and it seemed that a whole stockpile of weaponry was right behind him. He continued:
"Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I prepared for this very moment! I managed to get some weapons stockpiled myself so I can raise my own little group and take back this town! From here on end, you are all part of the Lawndale Resistance Movement, or the Free Lawndalers for short. It is a shame that those who wish to subvert everything this nation stands for bully and intimidate the silent majority who stand by our democratic institutions. These so-called right wing militias and taxpayers groups are really wolves in sheep's' clothing. They claim they want to restore 'constitutional government' but in reality want to install a fascist dictatorship that would exterminate the poor, the elderly, minorities and the disabled. Is this what our Founding Fathers wanted when they established our nation? I tell you loud and I tell you clearly: NO! If we just stand by while the Anthony Corlews and the Timothy McVeighs and the Bob Schulzes of this nation try to subvert the principles of equal rights and equal justice, then we have truly lost the battle. These Neo-Nazis must be stopped, for as the old Latin saying goes, 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?'--'Who watches the watchmen?'"
Mr. DeMartino paused and went up to Ami.
"Young lady," he told her, "I sense that you seem to have abilities far greater than any of us here. We could use them in our battle. Will you join us in repelling the Lawndale Militia from here?"
Ami was too groggy to say "No."
"All right, I will," she replied.
"Very well, then," Mr. DeMartino replied. "We will move out at once and retake this town from the enemy!" Soon everyone received weapons and began to move out. The battle to retake Lawndale had begun.
Beavis, Butt-Head and Quinn had arrived back at Highland. The two boys opened the door to their crumbling house and threw Quinn like a sack of potatoes into a closet, which they promptly locked up.
Quinn could hear them through the keyhole:
"Yeah, we've got Diarrhea's sister now, Beavis!," shrieked Butt-Head.
"Yeah, cool!," replied Beavis, then went into his "HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!!!!!!!"
Butt-Head then said, "I'm going to score with her first!"
"No, dillweed!," said an angry Beavis; "I'm gonna score with her first!"
"No, I am!," roared Butt-Head.
Beavis yelled back, "No, I am!"
"I'll kick you ass, Beavis!," butt-Head warned.
"Go ahead and try, Butt-Head!," dared Beavis.
They began another fistfight. Quinn could hear it going on. Somehow, uncalled, a memory flitted up to the surface of her mind. It was a couple of years ago, when she and Daria were still living here. They were going down the street when Beavis and Butt-Head approached. They began that sickening chant they made when they saw Daria:
"DIARRHEA, CHA-CHA-CHA!!!!!!!!!! DIARRHEA, CHA-CHA-CHA!!!!!!!!!! DIARRHEA, CHA-CHA-CHA!!!!!!!!!!"
"Uh, Diarrhea, is your sister available?," Butt-Head asked.
"No, she's not, you little perverts!," said Daria sternly. "Leave us alone!"
"But we want to score with her!," Beavis said.
They then made a grab for her, grabbing her by the legs (she was back then wearing that stupid red miniskirt, the same one she tried to seduce Kevin with) and her breasts. Daria then got real mad, and kicked the both of them in the crotch. They were sent howling.
Quinn ran screaming to her sister, crying and saying things like "Thanks for saving me" and all that.
Somehow there were unconfirmed reports that later that day Beavis and Butt-Head were setting off firecrackers and had thrown an M-80 into a dirt pile. It went off and apparently a kid in an orange hooded parka--who apparently was with his classmates from an elementary school in Colorado on a field trip-- was blown to pieces. Somewhere in the distance, the rumors went, a kid in a hunting hat was to have said: "Oh, my god! They killed Kenny! Those bastards! "
Somehow, to Quinn, this wasn't interesting right now. She began to cry uncontrollably. She was the most afraid in her entire life.
"If only Daria was here, she'd save me from this mess!," she sobbed.
If she only knew then just how her wish would be granted. . .
Back at the Kuriles, the repairs to the Neo-Zero were now complete. A fresh batch of Neo-Sidewinders was loaded and ready to go. Yoriko was ready to fly once again. But there was some unfinished business to attend to first with Dr. Vander Helffen.
"I'm warning you, Dr. Vander Helffen," Yoriko began, "if you don't make a fresh batch of Hi no Tori pills for me soon, there will be Hell to pay!"
"I will make more, I promise!," he reassured her.
Yoriko replied, "You'd better or else--"
She made a cutting motion across her throat.
With that, she climbed back into the cockpit and taxied down the runway. Son she was flying again.
Dr. Vander Helffen turned to two ninja spies and said, "Prepare the Iron Cross armor for me. I have a feeling that I will need it."
Tokyo was in a state of siege. The air raid sirens were going off again.
At SDF Headquarters, the Sailor Senshi were preparing for the next round. Daria approached Brian Mackenzie.
"You wouldn't have a cousin named Michael Jordan Mackenzie back at Lawndale, do you?," she asked him.
"As a matter of fact, I do," replied Brian.
"I know him," said Daria; "we're classmates at the high school."
"How is Mike doing these days?," Brian asked.
"OK, hopefully," was Daria's reply.
But there was bad news about to be delivered from an NHK reporter:
"This is just in from our international desk. A double tragedy has struck the American community of Lawndale. First, it seems that the hijacked JAL flight from Tokyo to Berlin has crashed in that town. Further, it is now confirmed that a right wing militia group calling itself the Lawndale Militia had now taken over the town. We don't have any casualty reports for either disaster as of this time, but NHK will keep on top of these rapidly unfolding events as they develop!"
All of the Sailor Senshi were in shock. Ami was on that flight, and she may be seriously injured, perhaps even dead.
Sailor Moon was the first to speak:
"I know that this is a blow right now, and Ami's whereabouts are unknown, but we must concentrate on the matters in hand here. If Ami is indeed killed, then let this battle be dedicated to her memory. We swear that we will avenge whatever has happened to her on our own lives. Now, let's prepare for the next attack."
Daria stood there in shock. For the first time in her life, she was genuinely worried for her family. Her mother may be domineering, her father a nebbish and her sister an airhead, but deep down inside, where most times she didn't want to admit it, she really did care for them. Daria seemed to let a stray tear fall from her face. Sailor Neptune noticed it.
"Are you all right, Daria?," she asked her.
Daria replied, "I'm fine, really." But right now she was fighting an inner tempest of raging emotions like she had never faced before. And God only knew how all this would sort itself out in the end.
he Neo-Zero was beginning its next round of attacks. First, Yoriko decided to destroy a couple of SDF/USAF bases in Chiba-ken. Yoriko approached the control tower and fired a Neo-Sidewinder at it, destroying it. She then blew up some fuel tanks, causing a devastating inferno to engulf the entire base. She did the same thing with several other bases along her way. She then set a course for Tokyo.
Tokyo was now a maddening sea of panicked citizens. Everyone was running like the King of the Monsters himself, Gojira, was running amok in their community again.
The Mobile Unit of the National Police, the famed riot control unit, was desperately trying to keep some sense of order, but to no avail. The body-length shields were beginning to buckle from the strain of all the humanity pressed against them. Even the TMPD was having difficulties in keeping matters under control. Everywhere, the screams of those who sensed that they were to be condemned were filling the air:
"We're all going to die!"
"Merciful Buddha, spare us!"
"No! I'm too young to die!"
"The end of the world is near!"
"Prepare to meet your doom!"
"Is there no God to save us?"
Suddenly, the Sailor Senshi appeared. Sailor Moon stood in front of the rest.
"Citizens of Tokyo, I implore you to stay calm!," she shouted. "Giving in to panic will only mean that the enemy will win over you with their fear! Please, calm down!"
However, it was of no use. Soon the crow began to overwhelm the Sailor Senshi right where they stood. Daria was knocked over and would have been trampled if it hadn't been for the quick thinking of Sailor Uranus, who pulled her out.
"Are you all right?," Sailor Uranus asked.
"More or less," Daria answered. "It's kind of like those mosh pits we have back home."
In the melee, the Mobile Unit and the TMPD were themselves overwhelmed. Later on, it was reported that there were several officers on both forces who were crushed to death. Chaos had clearly begun to assert itself on Tokyo.
Shortly after the panic had begun, the Neo-Zero arrived. Yoriko started the terror right away by firing a Neo-Sidewinder right at the famed Tokyo Tower, blowing it up to scrap metal. She then set her sights on the Diet Building. She fired missiles at the chambers of both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, and a third at the middle of the building. Horrendous damage was wreaked on the building. For good measure, she fired two missiles at the Tokyo Dome, blowing up the roof and damaging a good portion of the stadium. Yoriko smiled to herself in a sinister way.
"Soon, Tokyo will fall to the iron rule of the NIRAA!," she yelled.
Suddenly, she noticed something on her radar. There were five blips on the screen; the IFF device indicated that they were five Grumman F-14A Tomcats; they had obviously been launched from a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Yoriko flew in the direction of the squadron closing in on her. When she got to visual range, she could see from the tail markings that they were with the famed Fighting 143rd Squadron, alias the Pukin' Dogs. She could hear the talk on the radio as the fighters approached:
"Tango to Victor! We've got our bandit on visual now," said one of the pilots.
The squadron leader, Victor, responded with, "All units prepare to lock on target and fire on my mark!"
It looked like they were going to use the 20-mm Vulcan cannons on her since they were so close. Yoriko made a power dive as the bullets began to fire away.
"Dammit, she's too fast for us, Victor!," shouted another pilot.
"Angel up to 15 and prepare to fire Sidewinders," said the squadron leader.
Yoriko saw them turn tail and prepare to fire their Sidewinder missiles at 15,000 feet. Yoriko used the HUD to target the five Tomcats, then programmed five Neo‑Sidewinders at them. She calmly pressed the fire button and saw each of the missiles take out their targets. They didn't know what hit them.
Yoriko sneered and flew back to the heart of the city.
It was only on the most important occasions that a governor of a prefecture like Tokyo-to ever got to go into the Imperial Palace. Generally, the palace was only open to the public on two days in the year: the Emperor's Birthday and New Year's Day. However, Gov. Nagai was not making a social call to Emperor Akihito. The very life of the nation was at stake. He was now in an underground bunker beneath the Imperial Palace, speaking to both the Emperor and Empress Michiko; for good measure, the Solar Warrior was there as well. Gov. Nagai began to speak:
"Your Imperial Majesties, Tokyo hasn't suffered as much damage like this since the end of the war. The terrorist who has this aircraft can virtually wipe out this entire city with full impunity! The citizens of our nation are now turning their eyes to you for guidance in this grave matter. We need some assurances that this evil will pass."
The Solar Warrior added: "Gov. Nagai is right. The people are looking to both Your Imperial Majesties in this terrible time. Speak to the people. Tell them what they need to hear."
The Emperor arose and began to speak:
"Somehow, I wish that I could have avoided having to face a crisis like this. I have seen the reports myself and I have to confess that I fear for our nation. Do we want to return to the chaos that the regime that had once controlled this nation brought on all of us and the world?"
"It was in this very room that the war council met presided over by my father, the Showa Emperor. The vote was tied on what course of action was to be taken. It was up to him. He knew that we had foolishly let the militarists control every aspect of our society, that they led us to this calamity. He had to do what was right. He voted to end the war. He went on the radio and announced to this nation that we had to bear the unbearable. If this group seizes our nation, and begins to carry out its agenda, how many more bombs will fall? Must we suffer the nuclear terror of the Americans, the Russians, and the Chinese this time around? We must not let those who led us to ruin destroy half a century of progress, of good relations with the world."
He motioned to a nearby servant, who bowed deeply.
"Inform NHK that I will deliver an address shortly."
The servant bowed deeply again and left to make a phone call.
Gov. Nagai said, "You are doing the right thing, Your Majesty."
About fifteen minutes later, this was heard on NHK:
"We interrupt our continuing coverage of the Neo-Zero crisis to bring you this message from the Emperor. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor."
There was a picture of the Emperor and the Empress in the bunker. The Emperor stood up and began to speak:
"Citizens of Japan: We are now facing the greatest crisis in over fifty years. There are those out there who wish to restore militaristic control and regimentation in our society. These extremists think that the old ways were the best ways. Those ways were not the best ways. They brought immeasurable suffering and pain on countless millions in Asia and the world. The primary weapon of these extremists is fear and terror. However, they can be beat back if we do not submit to our worst fears. If we stay calm and not panic, we will have won half the battle. Therefore, I implore this nation to stay clam and to display in the face of the enemy the calmness and civility that have marked our nation and our way of life from time immemorial. We must not let fear conquer us. We must not let the enemy defeat us. Together, as a united front, we will show these extremists that we will not submit to their reign of fear. Thank you for your attention."
The announcer then said: "Please stay tuned to NHK for more developments in this crisis."
A good part of Tokyo was now in flames. Fire, it seemed, was everywhere. Sailor Moon had transformed into her Eternal Mode and was flying above to survey the damage. Everywhere, it seemed, there was damage. She was now over Azabu-ku, her own neighborhood, and set down where her house was. Thankfully, so far it was undamaged. She ran in.
"Mom! Dad! Shingo!," she shouted.
Soon she could hear footsteps from the basement. Soon, Kenji, Ikuko and Shingo emerged.
"Mom! Dad! Look! It's Eternal Sailor Moon!," Shingo said.
Right now, Sailor Moon was not going to be coy about her real identity; she was too concerned.
"Mom, Dad, Shingo, it's actually me, Usagi," she calmly announced.
"No way! You can't be!," Kenji said in shock.
Sailor Moon waved a hand over her transforming brooch and reverted to her identity of Usagi. Everyone was speechless for a couple of minutes.
"Usagi, is that really you?," Ikuko started to say, stunned.
"Yes, it's me," she confirmed; "I guess you should know the truth now. For the past six years, I have been fighting evil as Sailor Moon. Luna told me that I was the reincarnation of a princess who lived on the Moon over one thousand years ago and that it was my destiny to lead humanity to an era of peace in the future. My friends work alongside me as the Sailor Senshi, and Mamoru is Tuxedo Mask; they also were from the Moon Kingdom, except Mamoru, who was known then as Endymion and was from Earth.. In the future, Chiba-Usa will be mine and Mamoru's daughter. Right now I have to stop this madwoman from destroying Tokyo and forcing our government to give in to her terrorist organization. Ami was one of us as well; she was Sailor Mercury. But when she left for Germany she transferred those powers to Daria. Now I don't even know if Ami is still alive or not. I'm fighting for all of our futures here. Please, if you love me, you'll leave here and get to a place of safety."
Already the tears were beginning to run down her face; Usagi was genuinely worried for her family's safety. She then heard footsteps behind her, and saw that the rest of the Sailor Senshi were right behind her.
Tuxedo Mask was the first to speak:
"Sailor Moon, is everyone here in the Tsukino household safe?"
"Yes, they are, Mamo-chan," said Usagi.
Everyone was in a state of shock.
"It's all right, we know everything now," Kenji said. "You know, I have to admit that I still had lingering doubts about you until now, Mamoru. I thought that you were too old for my daughter and was making her a juvenile delinquent. Now I know the gravity of the situation. How can you forgive this foolish man?"
Mamoru extended a hand and said, "There is nothing to apologize for; you just didn't know. And I would be honored to call you as a friend."
With that they shook hands.
"Now that we like you and all that," Ikuko said, "how can you help us?"
Mamoru replied, "You know that resort you went to six years ago, the one that had the water spirit that I had summoned when I was brainwashed to do Queen Beryl's bidding?"
"I don't know anything about you summoning spirits, but I do know that some strange happenings were going on there," was Kenji's reply.
"Go there," Mamoru said. "You will be safe."
"We will take your advice," Kenji said. Shortly, the Tsukinos had packed the bare necessities and took off in their car.
"It is better for them until things are resolved," Usagi said.
"Now, we've got unfinished business to deal with," Mamoru said.
Suddenly, someone somewhat familiar appeared. Usagi swore she was seeing double. But there he was all the same: a man dressed like an Arab, with a scimitar at his side. Undoubtedly it was the Moonlight Knight.
"Mamoru, you can't be at two places at once," Usagi said.
"Sailor Moon, surely you know me, the Moonlight Knight?," he began to speak.
Daria turned to Meiou and asked, "What's this all about? You mean that Mamoru has two secret identities?"
Meiou said, "It's kind of a complicated story."
The Moonlight Knight then stopped and removed the veil from his face. Usagi stood there in shock.. It was none other than Furuhata Motoki, the owner of the Crown Game Center that Usagi still hung out at after school.
"Mamoru, can you explain what's going on here?," Usagi demanded.
"I will," Motoki started. "It was shortly after the Sailor Galaxia incident. Mamoru had that close call with that disappearance while he was flying to America. After the incident was resolved, he approached me and told me all about you and the others, Usagi. He then gave me the costume of the Moonlight Knight and trained me in some basic fighting skills. If Mamoru was to disappear again or if the Sailor Senshi needed some more muscle, I was going to be the ace in the hole. And I guess that right now you're going to need all the help you can get."
As to confirm that remark, the Neo-Zero streaked out of the sky again, and straight for the Sailor Senshi! The Deathgrip cannon was roaring at full blast. Everyone scattered.
"OK, sister, you asked for it!," Usagi said. "ETERNAL MOON STAR POWER, MAKE-UP!!!!!!!!!!"
She transformed to Eternal Sailor Moon and began to fly right toward the Neo-Zero.
Yoriko just sneered and started to play another CD in her player. This time it was "Black Monk Time" from The Monks. She was listening to the opening track "Monk Time" and was hearing Gary Burger's frantic voice:
"Alright, my name is Gary. Let's go. It's Beat time, it's Hop time, it's Monk time. You know, we don't like the army! What army? Who cares what army! Why do you kill all those kids over there in Vietnam? Mad Viet Cong! My brother died in Vietnam. James Bond, who is he? (frantic electric banjo riff from Dave Day) Stop it, stop it, I don't like it! It's too loud for my ears. Pussy Galore is coming down and we like it. We don't like the atomic bomb. . .(shrieking organ riff from Larry Clark) Stop it, stop it! I don't like it! Stop it! What's your meaning, Larry? (another organ interlude from Larry) Ah, you think like I think. You're a Monk, I'm a Monk, we're all Monks. . .Dave, Larry, Eddie, Roger, everybody, let's go. . .it's Beat time, it's Hop time--IT'S MONK TIME NOW!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!! ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!"
Sailor Moon was flying as fast as she could. She grabbed her old Moon Scepter and pointed it at the cockpit.
"You will not destroy our future, you spawn of Hell!," Sailor Moon shrieked as she prepared to fire off her Moon Princess Halation beam.
Yoriko was hearing Larry Clark's frantic organ playing, then the chorus of "It's Hop Time! It's Monk Time!"
"Blow it out your ass!," was all she said as she squeezed the trigger of the Deathgrip cannon.
Sailor Moon began to say "MOON PRINCESS HALATION!!!!!!!!!!" when suddenly hot lead tore through her like jagged needles. Sailor Moon fell helplessly from the sky and landed on the ground with a terrifying "THUD!!!!!!!!!!" The rest of the Sailor Senshi ran to her, Daria being the first to get to her.
"Usagi! Speak to me!," Daria yelled at her, shaking her; "Are you all right?"
Sailor Jupiter kneeled down besides her. She gave a quick check of her vital signs.
"She'd bleeding badly," she said. "I don't think there's even a pulse. We have to get the Sailor Star Lights. Only Sailor Star Healer can save her now."
Daria became very mad. She raised her head to the sky and screamed, "NOW YOU'VE MADE IT PERSONAL, YOU BITCH!!!!!!!!!!" She ran off in the direction of the Neo-Zero.
"Daria! Come back here!," Luna ordered sharply. "Sailor Senshi don't drop everything to carry out personal vendettas!"
"Let her go, Luna!," Rei said. "Since Ami's not here, I'm now in charge. Let Daria blow some steam. She'll be back."
Mamoru, in the meantime, reached for his cellular phone and called the Sailor Star Lights. This was the only chance Usagi had now to survive.
Daria, meanwhile was still running when suddenly, something smacked up against her head with a loud "CRACK!!!!!!!!!!" She fell down, helpless.
"Stay right where you are!," said an iron voice behind her. "Don't make another move!"
Daria suddenly found herself surrounded by NIRAA ninja soldiers. She held her hands up in surrender. They took her away to a secret location near the Sumito Heavy Industries headquarters. Dr. Vander Helffen would be awaiting for them there.
"Great! Now I've been captured," she thought to herself; "Wait until I send my next postcard. It'll say: 'Dear Mom, Dad, and Quinn: I'm now a POW being held by an extremist group. Please make sure to inform the Red Cross so they can send those POW packages. Love, Daria.' What a trip this had been!"
Back at Lawndale, The Free Lawndalers had made it as far as the local YMCA and decided to stay there for the night. Mr. DeMartino was checking his AK-47 when Helen Morgendorffer ran screaming to him:
"I CAN'T FIND HER!!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T FIND HER!!!!!!!!!!"
"Don't interrupt me while I'm cleaning my AK-47!," Mr. DeMartino yelled at her, his right eye bulging out again. "Do you want me to shoot my eye out! Now, who can't you find?"
"My younger daughter, Quinn!," Helen continued. "I haven't been able to find her since the plane crash!"
Mr. DeMartino motioned to Ms. Barch and Ami.
"You two, find out what happened to Quinn Morgendorffer!," he snapped at them.
"I don't like taking orders from male scum like you, DeMartino!,:" Ms. Barch said.
Mr. DeMartino pointed his gun and said "Well, my gun and I have a different opinion!"
Ms. Barch took the hint, and left with Ami.
"Male scumbag!," she muttered to herself. They left the YMCA and went down the street.
Soon they saw someone.
"Excuse me," Ami asked, "Have you seen Quinn Morgendorffer?"
"You bet I did," the person began to say. "Beavis and Butt-Head dragged her to the bus stop, kicked the driver out and drove the bus all the way back to Highland, I figure."
"Might as well get my car and go over there," Ms. Barch said. "I always hated those two creeps! They always make mischief when they come here to see Highland take on Lawndale. All men are scum, Ami, and don't you forget it!"
Ami was beginning to see that not all guys were like Mamoru or even like Urawa Ryo, the smart but kind boy she met back in the Sailor Senshi's early days when they were searching for the seven Rainbow Crystals that formed the Silver Imperium Crystal. But at least she didn't think that all men were scum, at least not just yet.
It was about 10:30 PM. Beavis and Butt-Head were watching TV. They were watching the reports of the JAL crash and the Lawndale Militia coup.
"Cool! We're on TV, Beavis!," Butt-Head said.
"Where! Where!," Beavis said, excited.
"I think we're over there!," replied Butt-Head, pointing to the TV.
"This is cool!," Beavis said, then began doing his "HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH-HEH!!!!!!!!!!"
Butt-Head added his "UH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH-HUH!!!!!!!!!!"
Then they changed the channel and tuned into a channel that was showing the newsreel footage of the Hindenburg disaster. They began their hideous laughter again.
"Hey, Butt-Head," asked Beavis.
Butt-Head replied, "Uh, what, Beavis?"
Beavis then said, "Is this the Super Bowl?"
"Uh, I think so, Beavis," was Butt-Head's answer; "It looks like the Goodyear Blimp!"
Then they saw the airship explode and Herb Morrison say "It's burst into flames!"
"FIRE!!!!!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!!!!! FIRE!!!!!!!!!!," Beavis said.
"Cool! It's crashing right onto the playing field!," Butt-Head said. They began their hideous laughter again.
Meanwhile, in the closet, Quinn had found a pin on the floor and managed to unlock the door. She slipped out--making sure that she had her bra back on--and slipped out of the house.
"Uh, Beavis, did you just hear the door open?," asked Butt-Head.
Beavis replied, "I think so, Butt-Head."
"Uh, better check on Quinn," asked Butt-Head.
Beavis got up and checked. When he saw no one there, he went "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!! QUINN'S GONE!!!!!!!!!! QUINN'S GONE!!!!!!!!!!"
Butt-Head went over and said, "Dammit, Beavis, now how are we going to score?"
"I bet I know where she went, though," Beavis replied.
With that they left to find Quinn.
Quinn was out of breath when she reached the home of Tom Anderson. She rang the doorbell and soon it was opened by Mr. Anderson.
"Hello, young lady," he said; "What can I do for you?"
"My name's Quinn Morgendorffer," she began; "I'm from Lawndale. Beavis and Butt-Head kidnapped me and took me to their place. But I managed to escape. I need help"
"You're Daria Morgendorffer's sister, aren't you?," Mr. Anderson asked.
Quinn replied, "Yes, I am."
"Well, I remember her," Mr. Anderson replied. "Smart little girl, she is. Do you want to call your parents?"
"Yes, please," begged Quinn.
They entered the house. But then, Beavis and Butt-Head saw them enter and raced for the door, kicking it down.
"Quinn, we don't like girls like you running away from us," Butt-Head said.
"Yeah! That's not cool!," Beavis added.
"You boys have done the most heinous thing I've ever heard about. I'm going to call the police right now," Mr. Anderson said.
"No way!," Beavis screamed. With that he found a golf club that was lying nearby and began to bludgeon Mr. Anderson with it. Soon, he was lying there, dead in a pool of blood.
"Cool! He's dead!," Beavis said. "Now we can do what we want with Quinn!"
"You murderers! Don't you know right from wrong?," Quinn sobbed.
"Do a striptease for us, bitch!," Butt-Head ordered.
"Then, like, let's have her wear that outfit we made that looks like that Gabrielle chick's outfit from that Xena chick's show!," Beavis said.
"NO!!!!!!!!!!," Quinn shrieked.
"You won't deny us again!," Beavis said, then clenched his fists and began to shake up and down while going "BOINGOINGOINGOINGOINGOING!!!!!!!!!!!" They moved in closer on Quinn. Quinn was screaming, "SOMEONE HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!"
Suddenly, there was a cold blast of air that hit the room.
"SHABON SPRAY, FREEZING!!!!!!!!!!," shouted a voice from the front door.
Beavis and Butt-Head were frozen solid.
Quinn turned around to see Ami and Ms. Barch in the front door. She ran to Ami and collapsed into her arms, crying.
"I'm just glad you came!," Quinn sobbed.
"It's all right. It's all over now," Ami said.
Ms. Barch went to the now frozen Beavis and Butt-Head and sneered, "You men are all scum!"
Daria was in some dark room with a strong light on her face. She was tied to a chair. Suddenly, a door opened, and Dr. Vander Helffen entered.
"So, you're the new Sailor Mercury now, aren't you?," he said.
Daria gave a rather stock answer:
"My name is Daria Morgendorffer. I am a member of the Sailor Senshi. I am a citizen of the United States and demand to be treated as a prisoner of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention."
"That will do you no good," Dr. Vander Helffen replied. "The New Imperial Rule Assistance Association does not recognize the Geneva Convention. In fact, when we're done, we will rule the world and abolish the Geneva Convention, the United Nations and all other weak-kneed organizations and treaties. Japan will be the undisputed master of the world. And now you will hear of those plans before we execute you!"
r. Vander Helffen looked at Daria like a teacher would with a troublesome but promising student. He sensed that he had her undivided attention. He was about to speak when Yoriko arrived; she had landed the Neo-Zero at an airfield near the facility. She stepped in and approached the two of them.
"I guess you may know this individual by now," Dr. Vander Helffen said. "This is Amazana Yoriko. She is the nominal head of the NIRAA, but I wield the actual power in the organization. As you can see, she has bombed Tokyo with the Neo-Zero with complete impunity. Don't think that you and your Sailor Senshi friends will be able to defeat us; we are too powerful to stop."
He continued, "And now I think it is time that I told you about myself, Yoriko and the aims of the NIRAA. Take a look at me: how old do you think I am.?"
"My best guess would be in your late 30's," Daria replied.
Dr Vander Helffen then launched into his exposition of himself, Yoriko and the NIRAA:
"What if I told you that I am actually 89 years old. It is due to the Hi no Tori Immortality Pills that I take. But I will get to that later on. What matters now is that you will hear about myself."
"I was born to one of those old Jünker families in the German province of Prussia. I witnessed the humiliating defeat of Kaiser Wilhelm and the Imperial Army at the hands of the decadent Americans. I swore that I would never again see my beloved Germany be humiliated. I went to the best schools in Germany and eventually entered the then young fields of genetics and cryogenics. When Adolf Hitler organized the Nazi Party, I joined and offered my services to the Führer in creating the 'Master Race' that he sought to have. When the Nazis rose to power I received approval from the Fuehrer to conduct more experiments. I carried them out on the inferior Jews and crippleds."
"But my greatest achievement was when I created the Hi no Tori Immortality Pills. When the Nazis conquered North Africa, an ancient text from Egypt was brought over to me. This text had been copied from ancient Chinese documents dating back to the time of Master Kung himself and made its way through India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and finally over to Egypt. It was an ancient formula for creating an immortality pill that allegedly came from the legendary Phoenix itself; Hi no Tori is Japanese for 'Firebird' or 'Phoenix'. Apparently the writer had been to Japan, where the Phoenix appeared to him in a vision with Amaterasu-Omikami, the Sun Goddess, and her brother, Susano, the Wind God. The recipe called for the rarest of ingredients, which even today are very hard to procure. But procure them I did, and created the first batch. I have taken the pills since I was in my early 30's."
"It was the creation of this pill that led me to my next task: Creating for the Führer a race of 'Ultra Soldiers' who would defend the Fatherland from the American subhumans and exterminate the Jews, crippleds, Gypsies, and other inferior races. I toiled throughout the War to create the serum. But, when I finally perfected it, the final assault on Berlin had begun, and the Soviet armies were closing in on me. I ran to the Japanese Embassy and they conducted me out of the country, but not before I found out that my beloved Führer and Eva Braun had killed themselves. I decided to go to Japan and hopefully give to them the Ultra Soldier formula and thus at least help them defeat the Americans. However, the military leaders would not hear of it from me. Remember, they, and not Emperor Hirohito were in actual control; the Emperor was a mere puppet in their hands. I stayed in Tokyo and hoped that they would be desperate enough to finally come to me. However, the Americans soon used their atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the militarists surrendered."
"However, that soon proved to be a boon to me. Shortly before the atomic bombings, I had learned that Gen. Tojo Hideki had an illegitimate child as a result of an affair he had with a prostitute who lived in the pleasure quarters of the Ginza. As soon as the American occupation forces arrived, I knew I had to act quickly. They wanted to seize the child from its mother as punishment for her infiltrating American lines disguised as a runaway Korean comfort woman and wheedling out secrets from the American soldiers, which she then told Gen. Tojo about. They wanted to take the child to the United States, put her up for adoption and erase any memory of her ancestry. They were afraid that if there was a child of Tojo's who was aware of his or her heritage, he or she might organize a new extremist organization that would take over Japan. I, however, got to the prostitute's home first, and promised the woman that I would take care of her girl. Soon enough, the American forces arrived at her house, and got so incensed that they could not find the child that they arrested her, charged her with espionage, and had her executed."
"Meanwhile, I had spirited her away with me to Argentina, where I lived for a while. There I injected my first batch of 'Ultra Soldier' serum into her, but there was an unexpected reaction; the results were unstable. I was forced to place her in cryogenic stasis until I could create an antidote. It took me twenty-five years for me to do that, during which I refined the 'Ultra Soldier' formula. When I finally got her out of cryogenic stasis, I used the antidote on her, then used the refined formula. The results were amazing. She now can lift 65 tons over her head, has the endurance of fifty men, and is in better physical condition than the best Olympic athlete. I began to indoctrinate her on Nazi philosophy, using of course the Führer's classic text Mein Kampf. I had also sent her to the best schools in Japan; eventually, she got her Master's Degree in Political Science from Tokyo University. Yoriko has been raised since she was thawed to be loyal to me. I also have her on the Hi no Tori pill."
"And now, you will learn about my plan to conquer the world. As soon as we make the civilian government surrender to us, we will launch an aggressive campaign to take back what is rightfully Japan's. We will retake the Kuriles and Sakhalin Island from Russia; we will retake the Pescadores from China. We will reannex both Koreas and Taiwan. We will conquer Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Mynamar, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Bhutan ,Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and the other Oceanic nations. We will then declare war on the United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and France and use nuclear bombs that we will appropriate from the seized American bases that we take over. After those five nations are humiliated, we will threaten to unleash more nuclear weapons on the rest of the world unless it submits to Japan. No one will be able to stop us, NO ONE!"
"Yes, there is something that will stop you," Daria said.
Dr. Vander Helffen continued unabated:
"And what will that be? God? The spirit of the Japanese people? Humanity? Freedom? The Americans or the Russians? What will stop us, Daria?"
Daria replied, "Public opinion will, because if you think the rest of the world is going to just let you waltz into power and start this mayhem of yours, you're even crazier than I suspected."
Dr. Vander Helffen was aghast. He continued:
"Public opinion will stop me? Are you serious? See what decadence is out there right now. The public is being sated by a modern-day version of the old Roman 'bread and circuses' tactics. This time, it's senseless media controlled by very few people, who make people watch trash that's full of lies, half-truths, distortions, colored opinions, useless trivia, promiscuous sex, wanton violence and degradation. You have celebrities and sports people who act outrageously and get away with it; further, not a month passes by now unless there's news of a shooting in a school. Do I have to remind you about the Latrell Sprewell incident or the shootings at Jonesboro, Arkansas and Springfield, Oregon? Is it any wonder groups like mine exist in many nations around the world? We're trying to restore sanity to this world. There are groups like mine all over the world: the National Front in France; the Neo-Nazi skinheads in Germany, the Neo-Fascists in Italy; even in your country there are the right-wing militias and the white supremacists and the disgruntled anti-government taxpayers groups like the All-County Taxpayers Association."
"And there are weirdoes like Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols who bomb Federal office buildings and kill innocent people," Daria said. "Dr. Vander Helffen, the world you are dreaming of is in reality a nightmare; it would be a world ruled by madmen who think only they can be the source of law and order and that those who oppose them‑‑especially minorities, the disabled and the poor--have to be exterminated. Hitler was real close to bringing such a nightmare world to reality, but he was stopped. Your dream isn't about restoring Japanese glory, it's about bringing a Fourth Reich to existence. If you think my friends and I are going to just stand aside and let you and others like you get away with this, then you are dead wrong. We will stop you even it it's the last thing we ever do."
Yoriko got mad and slapped Daria.
"You're just wasting your breath on her," Yoriko said to Dr. Vander Helffen.
"You're right," he said. "Take her away to be executed!"
Daria was untied from the chair and taken away. "Great, " she began to say to herself, "just a few days ago, I was worrying about Beavis and Butt-Head heckling me at the football game; now I'm about to be executed by firing squad. That's the sick, sad story of my life."
The Lawndale Courthouse was filled with Lawndale Militia personnel. In the chambers a moot trial was about to be held against the Mayor, the City Council and the City Judge. Anthony Corlew was going to be the judge, with twelve of his closest associates being the jury.
Anthony stood up and banged the gavel. He then said:
"This trial is now set to begin. All of the defendants are accused of the following crimes: fraud; corruption; bribery; funneling taxpayers' money to welfare-cheating minorities and disabled persons; indoctrinating our children with poisonous politically correct doctrine while in school and encouraging promiscuity by having condoms available at the high school. The punishment for all of these crimes shall be death by firing squad. The trial shall begin."
Somehow, the outcome was known beforehand, but they wanted to have this trial so as to look legitimate in the eyes of the public.
At SDF Headquarters, Usagi was fighting for her life. But now there was another concern as well.
"Daria has been gone for hours," Rei said. "She should know better than to just run off on her own personal vendettas."
"Save your bratty attitude for later," Mamoru yelled. "Can't you see the woman I love is in critical condition?"
Rei was taken aback from Mamoru's yelling at her. It wasn't too long ago, after all, that she was once his girlfriend. Then she found out that Usagi and Mamoru were meant to be together. She had her complaints, her arguments, and even her fights, but far be it form her to stand in the way of destiny. Somehow, however, it just seemed so unfair. She began to cry.
"Rei, I didn't mean to snap at you like that," Mamoru finally said. "I just hope to God that Mako can get the Star Lights over here as soon as possible."
Just then, a Ground SDF soldier arrived and spoke to Gen. Torymura:
"Sir, you might want to see this. It's a video from a surveillance camera. It seems that Ms. Morgendorffer is being taken in the direction of Olympic Stadium by the NIRAA. I think they may be planning to execute her."
"Mr. Chiba, Ms. Kaiou, I want the both of you to go over there and rescue our missing operative,", Gen. Torymura said.
"You're asking Tuxedo Mask to leave the side of the woman he adores so you can launch a commando operation? That is pathetic," Michiru said in response.
"It's all right," Mamoru replied. He turned to Usagi and said, "Usako, my love, I promise you that I will return to you. If, however, I lose you, I swear before all that is holy, just and true that I will not rest until the bastard who did this to you is stopped for all time. Twice you almost lost me because of my own carelessness; I don't want to lose you due to your own. This I swear!"
With that, he gathered his cape around himself, grabbed the walking cane he had and departed with Sailor Neptune.
Just then, they arrived: The Sailor Star Lights. Their names were Sailor Star Fighter, Sailor Star Maker and Sailor Star Healer. Sailor Star Healer's talents were going to be needed.
"I came back as soon as I could," Makoto said. "Right now, I wouldn't be surprised if we had to call on the Amazoness Quartet eventually as well. The entire city is in chaos."
"Where is our leader?," Sailor Star Healer said.
Chibi-Usa pointed at her. "You must hurry," she said, "if she dies, then it'll be as if I never existed."
Sailor Star Healer went over to Sailor Moon. She looked at her.
"This will take almost all of my healing energy, but it can be done," she said. With that, she placed her hands over Usagi's forehead, and energy immediately flowed from her to Usagi.
Rei got on her knees and prayed:
"Kannon, Goddess of Mercy, spare Usagi's life. I know we haven't gotten along too well in the past, but I couldn't have asked for a better leader. This I pray."
All Luna and Artemis could do was watch. "It's all up to her now," Luna finally said.
"She has to pull through; if she doesn't, all will be lost!," Artemis added.
Everyone was hoping for the best.
Olympic Stadium was built for the 1964 Summer Games. Those games were to showcase a Tokyo that had been successfully resurrected from the wartime destruction that had wreaked as much havoc on the city as did the 1923 earthquake. But now it seemed to be a monument to past glories. Japan was in an economic slump, and the facility seemed so dated now. Sitting where Emperor Hirohito himself had declared the Games opened, Dr. Vander Helffen--along with Yoriko--were watching some NIRAA soldiers tie Daria up to a flagpole for her execution. As custom dictated, the soldier asked for a few requests.
"Blindfold?," the soldier asked.
"No," Daria replied.
"Cigarette?," the soldier asked again.
Daria said, "I don't smoke."
Finally, the soldier asked, "Any last words?"
"I don't have any last words," shot back Daria, "but I do have this."
She wrenched her free hand from the other soldier who was tying her up, and gave the middle finger to Dr. Vander Helffen and Yoriko. The soldier seized the hand and tied it to the flagpole.
"How dare she do that!," Yoriko said.
Dr. Vander Helffen now stood up. Five NIRAA soldiers were standing about twenty paces away from Daria.. He took a ceremonial Prussian field marshal's sword that had been his grandfather's and held it up in the air.
"When I yell 'FIRE!!!!!!!!!!' and drop my sword, execute her," he commanded.
The soldiers loaded up their rifles. Another soldier began to beat a drum.
"READY!!!!!!!!!!," Dr. Vander Helffen shouted.
The soldiers took up their rifles.
Dr. Vander Helffen they yelled, "AIM!!!!!!!!!!!"
They all focused on Daria
Dr. Vander Helffen was now ready to yell "FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!" and drop his sword, but then a red rose dart hit him right between the eyes.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!," Dr. Vander Helffen yelled.
Suddenly, there was another yell:
"SUPER NEPTUNE TYPHOON, OVERWHELM!!!!!!!!!!!"
Suddenly, a wall of water crashed down on the firing squad, sweeping them away. Daria noticed that it was all the way up to her chin. But then Tuxedo Mask came out of nowhere, grabbed onto the pole, and wrapping one arm around the pole and using his free hand, took a rose dart and cut the ropes binding Daria to the pole. Then, he took out his walking stick, which extended, and used that to polevault their way to the stands. She noticed that Sailor Neptune was standing there, with her trident over her head.
"Am I ever glad to see you guys!," Daria said.
"Save the congratulations for when we get back to SDF Headquarters," Tuxedo Mask said. They made good their escape.
Yoriko went over to Dr. Vander Helffen.
"Are you OK?," she asked.
Dr. Vander Helffen replied, "He got me right between the eyes."
"I swear, I will get vengeance for this!," Yoriko said. "We will have the last laugh!"
When Daria, Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Neptune returned to SDF HQ, Usagi was still fighting for her life.
"Why is this taking so long?," Minako said, almost at the verge of tears.
"See what your foolishness has done?," Mamoru said. "I swear, Usagi wasn't as obnoxious in the beginning as you are right now!"
Sailor Star Healer said, "I'm almost at the end of my resources here!"
"C'mon, Mom," Chibi-Usa was saying to herself, "Dad and I are counting on you to pull through!"
It was then that Gov. Nagai, the Solar Warrior and the rest of the Nagai campaign team arrived.
"Who authorized you to be here?," Gen. Torymura said.
"I have the permission of both the Emperor and the Prime Minister," Gov. Nagai said. "If you want to file a complaint, take it up with them."
The Solar Warrior saw Usagi's condition and knew he had to act quickly. He took out what looked like a small yellow disc and placed it on Usagi's head.
"What are you doing?," Sailor Star Healer said.
"It is a Solar Healing Disc," the Solar Warrior replied. "The very energy of the Sun will heal her."
Suddenly, the disc began glowing, coursing energy throughout Usagi's body. Usagi was beginning to moan in pain, but soon the pain was finally easing. Finally, within a minute, all the injuries had healed themselves.
"Give her time to rest," the Solar Warrior said. "She is out of danger now."
"I think it is time you finally leveled with us and talked about who you are and how you came to be," Tuxedo Mask said. "Even when I was Endymion back in the Silver Millennium I never heard about you or your exploits. Are you really who you claim to be, or are you working for the enemy?"
"I see that some of the doubts that Usagi and Luna have about me since in the beginning has rubbed off on you," the Solar Warrior said. "But now I will finally tell my tale. Take it from me, once you hear it , all doubts will be erased."
he Solar Warrior had the attention of everyone at SDF HQ now. He thus began to speak about his origins:
"To begin my story, I must take you back tens of thousands of years, even before the Moon Kingdom itself was founded. It was the time of the 'Golden Epoch,' an era of universal peace and prosperity that existed long before the Silver Millennium. At the heart of this Golden Epoch was the Solar Realm, a kingdom that was governed on truth, justice and mercy. The Solarians themselves lived in a pocket dimension that existed within the Sun; my race was old when time was young. Our ruler and god was known as the Guardian of the Sun, but since our ruler was away on a ten thousand year journey to acquire knowledge of the other alien races that exist in this galaxy, our kingdom was governed by the Royal High Council, consisting of the High Priests of the Sun. Law and order was maintained by the Holy Order of the Solar Knights, and I, Nakajimi Tetsuo, was one of them. I was born to one of the most powerful families of the nobility; we ruled what we had called the Planetary Province of Terra, what you call Earth. The Solar Realm consisted of all of your Solar System. The Solar Knights were known for their even‑handed administration of justice and acts of chivalry. Everyone who lived in our realm was assured that no criminal would escape, no cry for help go unheeded. Soon I was made the Exalted Commandant of the Solar Knights, and I was set to marry the Crown Princess herself once she and the Guardian of the Sun returned.
"However, that was not to be. One day, we were on routine patrol near Pluto, when we received a distress call. 'Help! We are under attack!,' it went. Soon we heard a menacing voice. 'We are the Mecha-Dominion! We will absorb your world into our realm! Rebellion against us is useless!' We raced over to the outpost, but saw that it was virtually destroyed. We found a few survivors. They told us that the Mecha-Dominion consisted of cybernetic beings who implanted computer chip devices onto the foreheads of those they conquered and made into slaves to serve the Supreme Computer that governs their realm. They were on their way to Pluto. We had to stop them."
"We called for reinforcements, and gathered our forces at Pluto. Soon we saw their vast armada: a vast fleet of ships without number; ships that all looked the same and were all in the same pyramidal shape. We fought valiantly, but their weapons were far too superior to ours. They had weapons that could destroy entire planets and entire fleets of starships. Soon Pluto fell to the Mecha-Dominion. Thus that was repeated with each planet. Neptune fell, then Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury. Finally, we made one last desperate stand at the Sun. However, the Mecha-Dominion Mother Ship fired a powerful beam, collapsing the forecefield that kept our pocket dimension inside the Sun in existence. All who were in there perished in solar fire. Soon all save I were absorbed. I managed to escape by self-destructing my ship and hiding out in a cargo box. I had managed to take some provisions beforehand. I was in there for a month until a squadron of the United Galactic Confederation Defense Forces rescued me. They briefed me on what happened. All but a remnant who managed to escape had been taken from every planet in our realm. I was the only Solarian still alive. The Solar Realm was no more, and I was the last Holy Solar Knight. I finally settled on the Moon--which even then had people on it--and settled with some survivors. Back then, after the Mecha-Dominion attack, each planet was governed under its own system of government. Earth had fallen into anarchy and chaos, while Mercury, Venus and Jupiter had become monarchies. Mars, Saturn and Pluto were republics while Uranus and Neptune had become military dictatorships. The Moon had become a republic with a strong centralized system of government; there was a powerful president and an equally powerful parliament and high court. Soon enough, the president had asked me to head the newly created Lunar Republic Security Force. I served in that capacity for thirty years."
"Then, one day, the long-absent Guardian of the Sun returned. She stopped by the Moon and asked for me. I saw her at my office in Tranquillity City, the capital of the Lunar Republic. I still remember everything as it was yesterday. I remember when I first saw her, she said, 'I know you carry a tremendous burden in your heart. I know you lost everyone you cared for. But I want to make that up to you. I am the Guardian of the Sun, who was once the ruler of the now extinct Solar Realm.'"
"I then asked, 'If you are her, then why did you abandon us?'"
"She replied, 'I was seeking knowledge of all that live here in the galaxy. But now I realize that I have been derelict in my duties. If I had been here, I could have saved my people. When my daughter saw what happened, she killer herself. I know that you were going to be wed to her. I am sorry.'"
"I felt such a great loss then. But then she pointed toward the Earth and spoke further;"
"'Look at the Earth. When my ancestors, Izanagi and Izanami, created the Earth, the mud dripping from Izanami's spear created those islands you see off the coast of East Asia. On that nation, the gods themselves took human form and decided to live there. They call this land in their tongue Nihon, which means to them the source of the Sun. They are a vibrant people, but the lawlessness that permeates this planet threatens to overwhelm them. Already I have seen the terror that these anarchistic humans do. I have visited this planet in many disguises. In Egypt I saw the natives there enslave another race called the Hebrews who were fleeing from starvation. In the Western Hemisphere I saw savage tribes cut out the hearts of other people while they were still alive and offer them as gifts to their gods. I have seen lawlessness and disregard for the rights of others. I saw cruelty and disrespect and murder. If this is what the attack of the Mecha-Dominion has left, then it is time to correct it.'"
"'By now you should know who I am. I am actually Amaterasu-Omikami, the Great Heaven Shining Deity. I am the Goddess of the Sun. I hereby say now that I will never again abandon my people. As for you, you can help me in this. I will give you the power to face these anarchists who wish to keep Earth in chaos. I know that you have developed a special affinity for these humans. They need someone who will hear their pleas for help. Whenever the widowed and the orphaned are oppressed, whenever the less fortunate are persecuted, whenever those who cannot speak or fend for themselves need help, you will be there for them. I will make you immortal so that you can always watch over these humans. From time to time, I will change your appearance so that you can walk among men. I will send you down to Nihon and you will lead these people through their transition to becoming a great society. That way, never again will I leave my people helpless without a savior to rescue them.'"
"With that, she bestowed upon me the powers I now have as the Solar Warrior. After that, I left the Moon and arrived here in Japan. As Amaterasu-Omakami herself said, I was given many disguises over the millennia. I became Jimmu Tenno, the first Emperor of Japan. Humanity has also known me by various other disguises. I was once Saint George, the Dragon Slayer; King Arthur of Britain; King Robert the Bruce of Scotland; Sparticus of Rome; Michael Collins of Ireland and most recently Steven Biko of South Africa. Whenever the masses were being persecuted, there I would be, fighting to right injustice."
"Eventually, the Mecha-Dominion attacked the Solar System once again. The attack was so devastating that finally Selene, the Greek Goddess of the Moon, decided that it was time to re-establish a system-wide empire. She took the best of her Amazons and the best men of ancient Greece, and settled them on the Moon. Since this time, the Lunar Republic was obliterated, they had to re-establish a nation there. Thus it was that one of these Amazons, Cynthia of Corinth, was wed to Telemachos, son of Odysseus, and thus the Moon Kingdom was established and the Silver Millennium was inaugurated. From them descended every ruler of the Moon Kingdom, even Queen Serenity. During Queen Serenity's reign there was another Mecha-Dominion attack, and I was called to help in defeating them. We were successful. A year after, Princess Serenity was born, at the same time that another person on Earth was: his name was Endymion, who was a descendant of Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, who sounded his horn too late in battle for help and was killed by the Saracens. His wife Aude went into labor and gave birth to his great-grandfather; Aude then died from the shock of the news. About twenty years later, I paid a visit to the Moon Kingdom once again, and I met him. I even introduced him to the Queen and the Princess."
"I don't have any recollection of meeting you then," Mamoru said.
The Solar Warrior continued:
"That was because you knew me then as Haakon Norjal, a Viking who had recently been converted to Christianity and was now using his fighting prowess to help others. It was I who introduced you to Usagi."
"Now that you mention it, I do remember seeing a Viking that day when I first met her," Mamoru confessed. "He said that he had visited the Moon Kingdom many times over the past twenty years and got to know the princess very well. I think he said that we'd make a good couple. I have to admit that back then, Usagi wasn't as much as the airhead she still is to an extent."
If Usagi was awake to hear that right now, she would have blushed. But she was still resting from her recovery.
"So now you see," Tetsuo resumed, "I have been on your side all along. When I heard that the Moon Kingdom had been destroyed, I was stunned. For centuries afterward, I prepared myself for the day that I would see my old friends again. When the Dark Kingdom returned six years ago, I was ready, but then, I was commanded by Amaterasu-Omikami to prepare for a threat to Japan even greater than that. Little did I know that it would be the NIRAA. I promised Amaterasu-Omikami that I would stop them. And I hope now that I have earned your trust and can fight alongside you."
Luna was the first to speak: "We're sorry if we ever doubted you, Solar Warrior. On behalf of the entire Sailor Senshi, we'd be happy to have you on our side."
Daria was so moved by the Solar Warrior's story that tears were beginning to run down her face.
"I see you are moved by my tale, Daria. You are crying," Tetsuo said,.
"No, I'm not," Daria answered. "But then again, you have moved me. I must confess that ever since I first met you, I have drawn strongly attracted to you. You're unlike any other guy I've ever met. But I know that this cannot be. You see, I've got a guy back