Transformation Sequence

A Sailor Moon Fanfic Series

Chapter Two: For One Brief Moment

In the majestic hall of the Citadel of the Negaverse there stood two figures: Queen Beryl and General Jadeite. The elder gazed at her subject in dismay, and then turned her eyes back towards the black crystal that symbolized the Negaforce. Just moments earlier, she had witnessed, courtesy of the crystal, the monster's last minutes of life. "Another one is lost," the queen said solemnly, "but this time, it was not the doing of Sailor V. We have our oldest foes back again."

For half a minute, no words were exchanged. Then, Beryl turned towards Jadeite, who was standing at attention. "General," she said through her teeth, "Assemble your forces and prepare to double your efforts. We are up against Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask--and I am sure that you remember them well. Meanwhile, the Negaforce demands more energy. I do not recommend shutting down your covert energy-gathering operations. No, instead, increase them... increase them so much that even Sailor Moon will get caught in your web."

Assuming it was his turn to speak, Jadeite replied, "Yes, my queen," and added a salute.

"There is one more thing, General," she coldly continued, "Out on Earth, there reside seven people who house within their bodies the pieces of the Imperium Silver Crystal. I order you to locate them and gather the pieces... so that *we* might wield the weapon Serenity once used to keep the balance. Imagine that day, Jadeite, when the passages between the Earth and the Negaverse will be clear once again - and never let go of that vision." With nothing more to say, Beryl walked back to her throne, and sat down, her eyes fixated on the Negaforce.

A moment later, Jadeite teleported out of the Negaverse. He told himself, I will find the bearers of the Crystal's pieces... and when I do, perhaps Beryl will raise my status. May the day come quickly when I am no longer just a general!

Serena did not know the Tokyo of the night. Only fourteen, she had barely seen anything outside her own district. But this night, like a night one week prior to this, she was up at midnight, listening to the radio. Only Luna was there to share the experience, and the cat had no interest in such human pleasures.

"Tonight Radio Ten is broadcasting to the world," the disk jockey said, "And even though this is only the second week of 'Love Line,' already we're getting a considerable amount of fan mail. We have made it our policy to answer every one of our letters with a very special reply. But we have one letter which has made a request of us - and so I will tell you what she says... 'It has been too long since I wrote to my love. I want him to know that I have not forgotten him. Love Line, will you play my request?' And so, from one Miss Haruna to a mystery man, here is 'My Only Love.'"

Luna looked at Serena, who was stretched out on her bed, one ear leaned towards the radio. The cat, curious what her human companion thought of this, asked, "I find it a little strange that *you* listen to this, Serena... why?"

Turning the radio off just as the song started, Serena sat up and shrugged. "It's really nothing more than bullcrap," she said bluntly, "Molly recommended it to me, and now it looks like I'm going to have to question *her* tastes. Well, Luna, now that I've blown the last hour of my life, I'm going to sleep. Go away and leave me alone." That said, she pulled a blanket over her body and closed her eyes.

"What can I do?" Luna quietly asked. She sat down on the carpet and tried to go to sleep herself. The cat did not bother waiting for an answer.

The gates of Crossroads Junior High closed each morning at eight. This only gave Serena a few minutes in which to get ready and travel there, and it usually was not enough. On this particular morning, a Monday, she walked in, still looking half asleep, and noticed the schoolyard to be unusually quiet. With Luna waiting at the gates, though, she did not bother wondering why this was, and went into the building.

A few minutes later, Serena arrived at the classroom where she would be spending the day. To her surprise, Miss Haruna was nowhere in sight, though most of her classmates were. Putting all thoughts of Luna aside for the moment, she walked up to Molly and Melvin and asked them, "I heard our teacher's name on 'Love Line' last night... but why do you think she's late?"

Smiling wryly, Melvin looked at her, and said, "I didn't listen to the program... and I'm feeling awake. Neither of you do. Maybe Miss Haruna overslept."

"I wouldn't know," Molly said plainly, "So, Serena, what did you think of 'Love Line'? The music is OK, but I mostly like the disk jockey's voice. Oh, and just so you know, my mother is getting better." Casually, she sighed.

Just as Serena was about to voice her opinion, the teacher walked in through the door. "Sorry I'm late," Miss Haruna said drowsily, slouching towards her podium, "Please... take your seats."

The three students obeyed her request, but watched in mute horror as Miss Haruna passed out just before she reached the wooden stand. A moment later, Molly said, "Someone should probably call an ambulance..."

Five minutes later, Serena, Molly, and Melvin were standing outside the school, watching an emergency vehicle take their teacher to the hospital. "You know," the redhead said, "I wrote several letters to 'Love Line.' Maybe I made a mistake in doing that." Her head was hung low.

"Maybe," Melvin said quietly, "Did anyone else notice that Miss Haruna was wearing a purple flower brooch? She never has before... and I think it's suspicious!" He calmly laughed, wondering if he really could do something to help.

Serena stood there, stubborn and resilient. "I don't know about you," she said, "but there won't be any more school today for us. I'm going home." Her head lifted high, she walked through the gates of the campus, leaving her friends behind.

Now finding herself on the streets of Tokyo, Serena looked straight ahead, towards her destination. She began thinking as she went along, much to her own dismay. I should have told Molly how I felt. The program must be a scam... but more than that, it's a waste of my time. Why bother listening to sappy music and pretty-boy DJs when I could be doing what I feel like? Lost in her own mental maze, she walked right by Luna, who was standing on the sidewalk outside the Crown Arcade, and a few minutes later, right into Darien Chiba.

"You'd best keep an eye on where you're going," the young man said to her, watching warily as she stumbled back. He looked her over from head to toe, and was surprised that he recalled seeing her from just a few days earlier.

Standing up again, Serena said to him, "You're the one who tried to reprimand me after I flunked that English test. Call me Serena Tsukino, please... for you're going to be seeing a lot more of me." Sneering at the bishonen, she laughed haughtily.

Coughing deliberately, Darien replied, "Well, I'm Darien, and I must say I'm not terribly pleased to hear that. Who *do* you think you are?" His demeanor was becoming more hostile with every word.

Serena suddenly laughed out loud. She shouted, "I'm not like *you*!" and ran off towards her house, not even stopping to catch her breath.

Feeling more tired than ever, the young man went back inside the storefront, and upstairs to his apartment. He threw up in the toilet twice, and then went to bed, alone.

Just after Luna sighted her human companion, she saw an ambulance driving quickly down the street in front of the arcade. How strange, the cat thought, I'm definitely intrigued by all this... and I wonder if Serena will tell me what happened? Casually, she began to walk along the sidewalk, when a young man knelt down in front of her. Trying not to look alarmed, Luna sat down at waited.

"Hello, kitty," Andrew said, "What might you be doing here? Let's see... do you have a nametag?" After a little flustering, he found the collar that Serena had put around Luna's neck. "It looks like your name is Luna, and that you belong to the Tsukino family. Well, I'd best be going back inside, to take care of the Arcade's business. Have a good day," he calmly said, then went through the electronically controlled sliding doors, and out of sight.

I don't think this day is turning out very well at all, Luna thought as she headed home.

"Alright, Serena," Luna said threateningly, "I saw you, and the ambulances. What happened?" She was safely behind the closed bedroom door with the young woman, and felt free to talk.

Serena groaned loudly as she turned over on her bed. "Look, Luna, Miss Haruna fell comatose before she could even reach the front of the class. There won't be a substitute teacher available until tomorrow. And that's my explanation. You'd better believe me."

With a sigh, Luna nodded in agreement. Slowly, she turned towards the prone Serena and asked, "Yes. But isn't it a little odd for your teacher to just pass out? It sounds to me like something's wrong. Did you notice anything else unusual about her?" The cat looked up at her would-be owner and did not flinch.

After a brief pause to collect her thoughts, Serena plainly replied, "Melvin noticed that she was wearing a flower on her blouse. I don't know where she got it... but I haven't seen it before." Exhausted, she turned over.

"Miss Haruna was the one mentioned on 'Love Line' last night," said Luna, who was gazing at the floor, trying to put the pieces together in her mind, "Is there any connection? I know the Negaverse will be active... at least until they piece together the Imperium Silver Crystal."

Though still not entirely awake, Serena asked her cat, "The hell do you mean by 'Negaverse'? And 'Imperium Silver Crystal'?" Half- interested and half-irritated, she kicked her right foot against the mattress.

Shaking her head in dismay, Luna reminded herself, She must not know of her other identity. Serena and Sailor Moon are separate, and must never know that they share the same body. Dryly, she told Serena, "Don't you worry about it. I'll be back in a few minutes. And don't follow me." The cat walked over to Serena's window, and jumped out of it, towards the world that awaited below.

Christ, the young Tsukino said to herself, The cat's crazy. I guess I should expect that from a talking animal... but what *was* she going on about?

Radio Ten stood on the outskirts of Tokyo, its tall, iron structure overshadowing the smaller buildings around it. It stood before Luna like a shadow cast by a fire on a wall - the cat did not know what awaited her inside Radio Ten, but whatever it was, she feared the worst. This place is strange and remote enough for the Negaverse, she thought, walking closer to the pedestrian gate that protected the building from the outside world.

"Funny... a cat..." said a deep voice a few feet above Luna. She gazed upwards, and saw a guard in a blue uniform. He was armed with a pistol - clearly, she would have to wait for his approval to come in.

Standing her ground, Luna purred quietly. Then the guard said, while still towering above her, "Shoo, cat. Go home." He did not move, but Luna did, scampering away from the scene as quickly as she could. In her opinion, it would be useless to fight. There would have to be another way of investigating the building.

Morning came again, ravishing Tokyo like a hurricane. But in Crossroads Junior High, all seemed well, for the clean stone walls of the school served to close off the institution from the world. As Serena walked over to her seat, she saw that Molly Osaka was wearing a purple flower on her blouse. Damn. This could be bad - I probably should warn her. Slowly and sluggishly getting out of her seat, she approached Molly and said, "Excuse me, Molly, but you did get that flower from Radio Ten, right?"

"Oh... yes," Molly drowsily replied, "They dedicated a song just for me. Isn't that wonderful?" She nodded absently.

Coughing sharply, Serena said to the young woman, "No, it's not," and snatched the flower right off Molly's shirt. Though her sometimes- friend's mouth was open from this turn of events, all eyes were now on Serena. She said, "This may be a dangerous item. I'd better..." just as she fell towards the floor, her eyes closing as she neared the concrete.

She blinked, and realized that she was staring into a bright fluorescent light. Serena looked again, and found out that she was in a bed - a hospital bed, and that Luna was by her side. "Good God, Luna," she said, her voice cracking, "That flower was damn strong, wasn't it? Last thing I knew, I took it from Molly, and... Funny, I now feel pity for Shinji."

Luna, standing right on the side of the gurney, quietly replied, "Don't worry about what happened to the flower. I think we have our evidence. Just stay calm, close your eyes, and try not to think. Your problems will go away before much longer." Glad that Serena's family had left them alone for a few hours, Luna smiled doubly in expectation of seeing Sailor Moon again.

"Alright, Luna... whatever," Serena whispered, just before she went into a trance--

Sailor Moon sprang out of the hospital bed, and leaped onto the floor. Smiling broadly, she said loudly, "The Negaverse has taken control of Radio Ten... and I shall stop them. Come along, Luna, I believe we can take care of this together!" Without another word, the young warrior of the Moon Kingdom rushed through the room and out of the window. All but impervious to pain, she landed safely on the ground and sped off towards the radio station's building, as Luna followed closely behind.

A few minutes later, Sailor Moon arrived at Radio Ten's headquarters. She rushed by the guards, right through the locked doors, and ran up to the third level, laughing all the way. When she reached the office, she pointed towards the head executive, who was looking very nervous as he sat behind his iron desk, and asked, "Who is in control of 'Love Line'? Lead me to the person, for they have done evil deeds!"

"I... I don't know," the man said, stammering, "I've never heard of such a program... we definitely don't run it." Looking for a distraction, he looked to his right, and saw a blond-haired young man walking his direction. Hoping that he had found the right person, the executive asked his associate, "Do you know of something called 'Love Line'? This... young woman wants to know about it."

Jadeite, quietly snickering, said to his superior in the company, "I do. Now allow me to have a private conference with this woman." Striding forward, he struck down the executive with a single blow, and thrust his right hand into the man's chest. A moment later, Jadeite pulled his hand out, which was now coated with blood, but he now held a palm-sized red crystal.

Just as the Negaverse's general finished his evil deed, Sailor Moon shouted, "It was you, Jadeite! I can not allow you to drain any other people of their energy with your presents... or defile those who hold the pieces of the Imperium Silver Crystal." She readied her headpiece to throw at the general, all the while staring at him.

"Oh, no," General Jadeite said confidently. He pointed his free hand at Sailor Moon, and instantly, her headpiece was reduced to a thousand fragments. Alarmed, Sailor Moon looked at Luna, who was standing by her, paralyzed by fear.

Feeling a slight surge of adrenaline, Sailor Moon said to Jadeite, "You will *not* be victorious. Whatever you may do, it will not work in the end." Silently, she prayed for Tuxedo Mask to appear.

Quietly, Jadeite laughed. "Queen Beryl will not have it that way. She intends to restore the balance. Even if all the Sailors unite again, she will have the Imperium Silver Crystal to restore the balance of good and evil... in our side." He raised his left hand, preparing to telekinetically strike again...

Jadeite was struck in that hand by a red rose. "Damn you, Tuxedo Mask!" he shouted, then angrily gazed over the area again, before saying, "I still have this crystal shard. We will meet again." He vanished, teleporting himself back into the Negaverse.

"Thank you, Tuxedo Mask," Sailor Moon said softly, watching her hero descend from the ceiling, walking in her direction, "I know that my headpiece will regenerate in time, for it is of the Moon Kingdom. But you have helped me again, and all I am left to say is... I love you."

Calmly walking closer to her, Tuxedo Mask said, "Sailor Moon, I love you as well, and you know it. But I know Luna will agree with me on this - you must return to where you were." After a brief embrace, Tuxedo Mask retreated into the halls of Radio Ten.

Remembering her obligations, Luna said forcefully, "Yes. Sailor Moon, follow me back to the hospital. Our deed is done."

On the third day, Serena rose again out of her bed, and went to school. This time, Miss Haruna and Molly were there, and both were awake. "Well, Molly," Serena said a few minutes before the classes started, "Still listening to your little program?" She quickly gazed over at Melvin, but he was not looking in their direction.

"I would have," Molly said sullenly, "But it wasn't on the air last night. They even had a public service announcement saying something that it hadn't even existed. I don't know what was going on with that." Suddenly sitting up, Molly faced the front of the class.

With a loud, clear voice, Miss Haruna said, "Good morning, everyone! Could you all pay attention now? Especially Serena...!"

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This page was created, by John Alan "I.N.T.O." Riggs, on September 28, 1998. For disclaimers, please see the indexes.