Transformation Sequence

A Sailor Moon Fanfic Series

Chapter One: The Whiner

Monday came like a cruel vulture. At seven in the morning, Serena Tsukino's alarm clock buzzed right into her right ear. "Damn," she mumbled, prying open her eyes, "I'll be late if I don't get going." As Serena slowly stretched her arms toward the ceiling, she tried to think of all she had to do. There would be an English test today - damn it all, she hated the language. Unfortunately, if she failed this one, her mother would make her attend juku. What a wonderful beginning, Serena said to herself. Clenching her teeth, the young woman stepped out of bed, and prompty heard a shrill cry come from beneath her bare feet.

"What the hell?" Serena asked quietly, looking around her clean, well-organized room, "God help me if it's a little black pig..." Her voice trailed off when she sighted a black cat just inches away from her.

For a moment, all was quiet.

The cat's wide blue eyes stared blankly up at Serena, as if it were completely oblivious of the white bandage affixed to its forehead. I don't know how this cat got here... Serena thought, stooping down to the cat's eye level, but I might as well try to remove its bandage. Slowly and cautiously moving her hands towards the cat's head, Serena got just close enough, then she peeled the gum-sealed bandage off, removing it from right to left, peeling with both of her hands. A moment later, the small operation was done, and yet the cat had hardly moved. Flinching, Serena tossed the bandage aside and looked at the cat's uncovered forehead - where there was now a crescent-shaped white mark in the animal's fur.

Standing up again, Serena shook her head rapidly. This is definitely stranger than "Ranma 1/2", she told herself, I wonder if that's a birthmark at all. But then she watched as the cat walked out of her room through the half-open window. Her mouth dropping open, Serena wondered, What was that all about? Still... does it matter? I've got better things to do. Putting it out of her mind, the young woman went back to her morning routine of showering, changing her clothes, and...

...At seven-thirty, Serena, dressed and ready to go, ran downstairs. "Mother!" she yelled, "Do you have my lunch ready?" Breathing heavily, she stared anxiously at her mother, who was silently working at the kitchen counter, back turned from her daughter.

"Oh, Serena," Mrs. Tsukino said with a pronounced sigh, "Must you *demand* it? You know how hard it's been since your father left... But for now, here you go," she said placidly, handing the cold metal bento box to her daughter, and added just as Serena was heading for the door, "Behave yourself at school... won't you, Serena?"

Without a word, the young Tsukino shut the door, and then all was quiet again.

Several hours later, math period began in Miss Haruna's classroom, and a storm cloud appeared above Serena's head. She was seated between Melvin and Molly - possibly the two best students in her class, maybe her school - and yet the rules forbade her from looking at their papers. Damn them, Serena thought, clenching her fingers into her palms, damn them all to hell. I will overcome temptation, and still do well!

"Today's test," Miss Haruna said, ignoring Serena's naked fury, "will be over the concepts that we have studied for the past week. Assuming that you've kept up with your studies, I believe you will all do well. Here it is - go at it!" She began to hand out the sheets of paper.

Serena took one last glance at Melvin, then one at Molly. Both of them were silent and still. Damn them...

The Negaverse was a perpendicular universe. It existed in three dimensions, yet was completely intangible to the people of Earth. In fact, as Queen Beryl had discovered many years ago, even if the creatures of her world teleported - which they could do without personal risk - to the world of Earth, their presence was indetectable unless they openly manifested it. So it had been, for countless years, that Beryl could send her minions to drain the chi from Earth's citizens, and give their energy of life to the ever-hungry Negaforce.

That was, however, until the coming of Sailor V.

With this singular opponent, Beryl's supply of chi had been cut in half. She had been forced to divide her forces into two categories: generals and monsters. Currently, her most successful general was Jadeite, a man who pursued her heart. In Queen Beryl's eyes, he could control even the monsters which had no minds with skill and authority. She needed Jadeite and his skill to evade the eyes of Sailor V, or otherwise the Negaforce might reject her power as Queen.

Safely seated in the hall of her unofficial superior, Beryl faced the black crystal that rested on the wall before her without a hint of fear in her expression. She knew the Negaforce communicated through this idol, and if she were humble, she could freely talk to it. Boldly, she said, "I wish to summon General Jadeite. Find him for me, great Negaforce."

The colorless crystal, antithesis of the legendary Imperium Silver Crystal, spoke back: "He shall be summoned, Beryl. Jadeite shall be told to not fail you." As always, the voice that emanated from the crystal was hollow and without emotion. Not even the full supply of chi that the Negaforce required could correct that.

"I will watch the general as well," Beryl said, holding the armrest on the left of her throne tightly.

In the Tokyo that Serena knew, there was but one shop that specialized in jewelry. Its sole proprietor, one Mrs. Osaka, did a fair business there - it was all she could do to help her daughter Molly through school. Like most of the citizens of Tokyo, Mrs. Osaka knew of Sailor V, though she considered the young heroine to be but an urban legend. According to Mrs. Osaka, the sudden decline in reports about Sailor V's crime-fighting activities was just another proof that she did not exist.

That day, two figures converged on Mrs. Osaka's jewelry shop. Both were of the Negaverse.

Jadeite and his monster stood on the roof of the shop, ducking down enough that they might not be casually noticed. The general, smoothing out his crisp blond hair, said to the monster, "Beryl is watching - and I know you also feel her presence. I must leave soon to report my energy-gathering progress to her, and so there is much for you to do. First, you will capture the shop's owner. Do what you want with her, but then impersonate the woman. As soon as possible, infect the wares with an energy-draining agent. Make sure that the customers buy the jewelry, and when you have a sufficient supply of life energy, return to the Negaverse. And... keep a low profile," Jadeite said, looking straight into the deformed, calloused face of the monster.

In reply, the monster saluted, and said bluntly, "I will comply." It continued to stand at attention even as the general teleported back to the Negaverse.

Then the monster smiled. It knew exactly what to do.

After several anxious hours, and just as the classroom was filled with the students getting their schoolbags ready to leave, Miss Haruna said, "One moment please! Let me hand back the English tests. Sorry to keep you waiting," she said, giggling slightly. Meanwhile, a good portion of the class - especially Serena - trembled in fear.

Holding her breath, Serena watched as Miss Haruna came closer to her... very slowly. Then the sensei handed back her paper... and just as slowly and anxiously, Serena gazed over her paper. One second later, she threw the test aside and put her head down on the desk. Thirty percent! Damn, I knew I didn't do well... but this is horrid! What's the use? Serena asked herself, oblivious to the others around her.

Five minutes passed, and even after the others walked out, Molly drew close to Serena. "You know, Serena," the young Osaka said quietly, "Let's forget about this, and do something fun. Like... go shopping. How about that?"

It was a hellaciously long minute before Serena raised her head again. Her eyes closed and her face still pointed toward the now-warm desk, Serena said, "Yes. Yes, that sounds like a good idea." Sullenly, she stood up and followed Molly as they walked out of the classroom, into the empty halls of Crossroads Junior High.

Molly opened the door to the jewelry store, and was not alarmed by the considerable crowd in the place. "Here you go, Serena," she said calmly, "This is the store my mother owns. Let's see if we can find anything." Dragging her friend through the thick cloud of people, the young Osaka made her way to the counter, and turned towards the woman who appeared to be her mother, saying to her, "Hello! I've brought Serena with me, but we won't be long."

The monster, imitating Mrs. Osaka's voice, replied, "Oh, don't worry about staying long! We're having a sale today... ninety percent off everything! I'm *sure* that you'll find something to buy." The disguised monster laughed quietly, and quickly rubbed its hands together.

"Mother?" Molly asked, "Isn't that price cut a little much?" She quickly turned toward Serena, but her friend was still looking limp and listless. "Oh, screw it, Serena," she muttered, then said loudly, "Would you like to go home? I might be a while here, since my mother will need me to take care of all these customers. Can you find your way home?"

The young Tsukino looked into Molly's eyes, and a faint glimmer of satisfaction shone in Serena's eyes. "Yes. I can manage that," she said, and weaved her way through the crowd and out of the store.

Her eyes glazed over, Molly waved to Serena to bid her farewell. Sighing in frustration, she walked away from the counter.

"Time to dispose of the evidence," Serena said with a hint of a growl in her voice. She stomped out of the store, saw a garbage can on the sidewalk, and threw the English test towards it. In mid-air, though, the leaf of paper changed direction, and flew in front of a young man's face. Realizing that she had made a social blunder, Serena walked up to him and said, "That's mine!"

The young man looked back at her, his expression blank. "You can have it," he said solemnly, "I suggest you study harder for your tests."

Snatching the paper out of his hands, Serena glared at him, saying, "You damn well better believe I will." As before, she stomped away, walking on every crack in the sidewalk.

Several minutes later, Serena returned to her home. Finding her little brother Sam quickly ushering her before her mother, she stood before Mrs. Tsukino, the paper in her right hand, and a nervous expression on her face. "I'm sorry, mother," she said without emotion, "I am not a good student." With one deliberate motion, she gave the test to her mother.

"Serena," her mother said flatly, "Go to your room." Mrs. Tsukino unceremoniously placed the test in the garbage can of their family room, and silenly retreated to her kitchen.

Aware that Sam was watching her every move, Serena walked upstairs, feeling the cross grow heavy on her back.

Closing the door to her room, the daughter of the Tsukino family dropped all of her schoolbooks on the ground when she saw the black cat again. "This has been one hell of a bad day," she said with a snarl, "Now things are getting just plain damn weird." She sat down on her bed, ignoring the mess of books.

"I'm very sorry to hear that," a voice said.

Opening her eyes wide, Serena looked around her room. No one was waiting at her door... and certainly no one was in her room - except for the cat. "The cat talks," Serena said to herself, not knowing what to make of this revelation.

After a brief pause, the cat walked closer to Serena. "Yes, I did," the cat said softly, "I'm Luna, I'm a cat, and I'm here to help you."

Suddenly, Serena began laughing - this was all too absurd. She exclaimed, "Well, Luna the cat, what are you here for? Do I have some sort of cosmic destiny to fulfill?" She stood up again, and closed the window - the cat would not get away again, if she had her way.

Luna sighed. Hopping up on Serena's bed, she replied, "No. Let's just say that your friend Molly is going to need some help. Since I assume you're going to be a bit apprehensive to trust a talking cat... here's a jewel for you..." Luna jumped up, flipped three hundred and sixty degrees midair, and produced a small, clear, spherical diamond out of subspace.

Though this left Serena scratching her head, she picked up the jewel from the bed where it lay, and asked, "Well, Luna, what now? What do you want me to do?" Her expression changed from one of amusement to a face-creasing sarcastic smile.

Realizing that time was running out, Luna said rapidly, "Hold it, close your eyes, and be quiet. Everything will happen before you know it." Luna gave the young woman a reassuring smile.

"I might as well," Serena said with a despondent shrug. She did as Luna had told, and--

Sailor Moon was reborn that day.

"Oh, Luna," Sailor Moon said, looking over her costume, "Thank you. Now, let me find out where Molly is." She touched the bead on the right side of her golden headpiece, and saw the whole scene: the customers in the Osaka jewelry store were on the floor, unconscious, Molly's "mother" had now the pock-marked face of a monster, and the young girl was on the floor, shaking and pleading for her own life.

Looking toward Luna the cat with determination, Sailor Moon said, "It's past time to help her. Let's go, Luna!" Thrusting her window back open, she leaped outside, and began running down the street. Smiling broadly, Luna jumped off the bed and followed the Sailor out of the room.

On the roof of the jewelry store, a solitary figure now stood. He was no monster, but instead he wore an impeccable black tuxedo and hat, and a white mask over his face. Yes, he thought, examining the area, a monster is definitely active in this area. I must stop it before it causes anyone serious harm... and yet I must remain unseen. Now, how shall I begin?

A moment later, he made his decision. Tuxedo Mask opened the hatch on the roof, and climbed down a ladder that had been installed there. He was ready.

Sailor Moon threw the door to the Osakas' shop open, pointed straight at the unmasked monster with her right hand, and declared, "You were sent here by the Negaverse to gather the energy of people - and for that I will punish you! For I am Sailor Moon, the reborn champion of justice." Not willing to waste any more time, she removed her headband, and aimed it right at the monster, who stood behind the counter, not moving.

"Just a moment - I will help you, Sailor Moon," shouted a voice from the other end of the shop. Tuxedo Mask jumped off the ladder he had climbed down upon, and drew a red rose from the folds of his formal suit. He winked at Sailor Moon, and they attacked simultaneously. The monster was hit in the front and back of its torso, and after a shrill, brief shriek of pain, vanished into the air.

The coast now clear, Tuxedo Mask leapt back unto the ladder. "Thank you, Sailor Moon, for coming to help me - it's good to have you back," he said calmly.

After a nervous pause, the young Sailor looked at her comrade-in-arms, and replied, "No, thank you, Tuxedo Mask - it's good to know *you're* back," she said, fighting back some tears from her eyes.

Just then, the customers began to stir again. Luna entered the shop, and said to the heroine, "Sailor Moon, I think you remember this - but do close your eyes and wait. We don't want the Negaverse to know about your other identity."

Sighing, Sailor Moon closed her eyes, and let her thoughts of Tuxedo Mask go--

"Oh, shit," Serena said, looking around the shop, her mouth falling open, "What the hell happened here? Molly - this better not be your doing. And where did your mother go?"

Just coming back into the land of the conscious, Molly looked towards her friend and stated, "I don't know. The one I thought was my mother turned into a monster, and... and..." She stopped, and began sobbing.

Shrugging her shoulders, Serena said coldly, "I can't really help you. See you tomorrow, Molly." With a casual gesture towards Luna to come and follow her, Serena walked out of the store.

"Really, Serena," Luna said angrily, hissing slightly, "That's rather rude of you. Couldn't you at least try to help?"

Serena stopped in her tracks. "Very well then, Luna," she said, stomping her left foot on the pavement, "I'll do just that. Damn." Without wasting any other words, the young Tsukino walked back inside the store.

Grudgingly walking up toward Molly, Serena said stiffly, "I'm back. Is there something I can do to help?"

"Yes," Molly replied, just then standing up, "Where is my real mother? Find her, Serena," the young victim said.

Moments later, Serena took the ladder down to the basement. Good God, Molly, she thought, Can't you find your mother *yourself*? Stepping onto the cold basement floor, she looked about the room. Then she saw it - in the corner was Mrs. Osaka, tied up, gagged, and her midsection bleeding badly...

Continued in Chapter 2!

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This page was created, by John Alan "I.N.T.O." Riggs, on September 20, 1998. For disclaimers, please see the I.N.T.O. Index.