A Year and Change

A Sailor Moon fan fiction by Thomas Sewell (oldgringo2001@yahoo.com)

The Bomb

A table had appeared, and a pretty young waitress with red hair and green eyes. She spoke in a language Nagy did not understand--Japanese? And yet he did understand . . .

"Who is your friend, Usagi-kun? Did he come from a costume ball?"

"He is a soldier, Furuhata-san. A soldier from far away." The woman was a girl again, in the sailor-cut school uniform.

"He is so handsome. Mamoru will be jealous, Usagi-kun. Shame on you!" The giggling waitress set down colored fountain drinks of some kind, and vanished.

The girl in the wheelchair began to cry again.




Kensington, CA
12:28 pm PDT

Natividad Carnera looked into the room with the floating angel, where a red-haired woman in gray robes chanted in an unknown tongue, and made strange gestures, and wielded strange fetishes, while two other women next to her spoke another language to each other that Natividad did not understand. One of the older children came up and said something in English, a language she did understand, although she didn't understand all the words of: "Grandma, Taggy's locked herself in the can again. You wanna see if you can talk her out?"

Natividad left herself to check on Luis, who hadn't said or done much of anything since they had come here. That brought her back to the woman who had left with the child. She was taller and better looking than the woman in the gray robes, though she was older, but there was a resemblence--and a quite striking one with the slang-speaking child, who looked about the same age as Titania. The grandmother was trying to talk the child out of the bathroom, which happened to be the only one that Luis knew of, so he was also waiting outside.

Natividad led her husband to another bathroom. When she returned, the woman in the robes was talking through the door, again in a language Natividad did not understand, but then in English as well. The child on the other side of the door emerged, and that crisis ended.

Natividad approached the grandmother and asked, "Could you tell me what is really going on here? I don't understand. You must have known their secrets for many years . . . I am Natividad Carnera. And you?"

"Osaka Nagako--Nagako is my personal name. You are Adrienne's grandmother?"

"Yes."

"You have a wonderful grandchild. My granddaughter Maia tells me much of her. They are the same age. And they both enjoy art."

"Maia, yes, I remember. Adrienne wrote of her. I'm afraid I don't know exactly who she is yet . . . But she is one of the angels too? I saw a red-haired girl of Adrienne's age with wings." Natividad glanced down the walkaround. "And I saw her, too, the one who came to you."

"Alcyone," the woman carefully pronounced. "Arukiionu in Japanese, but we call her Ara-chan, and she calls herself 'Al.' She is very American, that one." The woman sighed. "I have only my Naru-chan, but she has nine children. So I have eight granddaughters and one grandson. With the children of the senshi here, there is quite a crowd."

"Senshi?"

"Bishoujo senshi," said the woman. "That is what they are called in Japan. 'Pretty young girl soldiers.' They are not so young now, but they are still called that . . . and they really are soldiers. They fought great battles, I am told. I knew none of it until years later." She shook her head. "Naru-chan can work magic, but she did not learn until after the great battles. She is not a bishoujo senshi, but all of her children are or will be. Even the boy, although I suppose he will not be bishoujo--though that can happen, too."

"I don't really understand . . . Can you tell me what is going on right now?"

"I don't know all of it. But what I do know is that Chiba-san is in grave trouble. She is the leader of the bishoujo senshi and my daughter's oldest friend. The other grown senshi are in Washington. I don't know what they can do there, since the terrorists have threatened to kill the rest of the hostages and set off their bomb if the senshi attack again. But if there is more fighting, they will be in it. I think I can guarantee that."

"More fighting means that Roland will be killed," said Natividad Carnera. "And maybe Haruka and Michiru? I saw that some of them were wounded. One of them looked crippled. The one that wept so long."

"Yes," said the woman. "They can be harmed. Even killed. Especially if the terrorists really do have a bomb. Minako said so, and she is very smart about such things--you wouldn't imagine, but she is, even when she isn't in her senshi form . . . the friends of my grandchildren, they could all be orphans like poor Lily-chan before this is over." She glanced around. "Don't speak of this in front of the children, please?"

Natividad Carnera sighed. "I hope Roland had the good sense to update his will. We are supposed to get the children, but . . . who would get the children of Haruka and Michiru if . . ."

The woman shook her head slowly as she spoke. "Haruka is estranged from her family, but they are very important in Japan. Haruka had a brother, much older, but he died and then his son died, so Titania and Hecate would be the heirs . . . Michiru's parents are a mystery, even to me. Someone sponsored her when she was growing up in Japan, but she doesn't know or won't say who."




Finished with her crying at last, the girl said once more, "Why did you do this thing, Nagy-san?" She was in a different uniform now, and closer to being a woman. "Why did you do this thing for Fazi?"

This time the words somehow compelled Nagy to answer. "He offered us more money than for any other job. And this was a chance to do something that mattered. The United States has lorded it over the rest of us for too long. It was time to give this country a slap in the face. You are Japanese. You must understand."

"I have made myself an American," said the woman. "But I do understand. Why did you trust Fazi so much?"

"He was our employer. As Kipling wrote, a mercenary soldier must be true to his salt. We have worked for worse men."

"Why did Fazi not tell you of the threats he was making? Why did he not tell you of the plutonium sample to make my government believe those threats?"

Nagy replied, "I don't know. Sultan was a very secretive man."

"He was very sure of himself, like his job was already finished, only a little while after your people got him inside the White House," the young woman said, "Fazi asked that our government keep his threats secret. I think maybe he wanted to keep that a secret from you and your people, too. Why would he want to do that? Could it have something to do with that 'special equipment' he would never tell you about?"

"The special 'equipment'--" <The "special equipment.">




Building E
New Executive Compound
Washington, DC
3:57 pm EDT

"Ingenious design," said nuclear weapons specialist admiringly, "And quite bad news for us, I am afraid."

"How bad?" asked General Thysson.

"It should have a yield of five to ten megatons. Enough to destroy the entire District--and the Pentagon as well. Seems to be based on a late Soviet design that was never put into series production . . . Kurchatov's work."

"And booby-trapped six ways from Sunday," said Captain Neuhaus, head of the NYPD Bomb Squad and considered the best in the country. "And that's just what I think I can see. It's got motion sensors, at least two capacitance triggers . . . most of the wires could be triggers, too, there's way too many . . . wish I'd had you last week, little lady . . . "

"Can you disarm it?" asked Colonel Gage, the Delta Force commander.

"Maybe. I wouldn't bet your life on it. If we try to move it, it will probably go off. If a grenade or something goes off near it, it will go off. If someone kicks it, hits it, something falls on it, it will go off . . . and it has timers. Some of them are probably lures, but I bet at least two of them are active . . . Hey, what's happening?"

"She can't go on," snapped the strawberry blond Death Angel, catching the lolling girl, and six-eight Thysson backed away from the diminutive Destroyer before he thought.

The woman who had been making the "link" said, "This can be very draining for someone not accustomed to it. The Second Moon has never linked before."

"I believe you, Ma'am," said Neuhaus, staggering a bit as he rose from his knees. He had been kneeling at the left of the three-eyed girl angel. Then he said, "You two were the ones in that French video, weren't you?"

Chibi Moon did not answer that question, but Sailor Venus had another. "First Moon, do you think you can destroy it?"

"What do you mean?" asked Neuhaus.

Chibi Moon said, "I have a powerful attack . . . but I'm not sure I could destroy the bomb quickly enough. Sometimes I can phase it in and out but . . . I don't think so. Probably some pieces would hit the bomb before I could blast through and get a clear shot. If I did blast it, it wouldn't just go away . . . it's radioactive, isn't it?"

"Yes," said the nuclear specialist, "And poisonous, too. Still, better than having it detonate. If you can damage it, you may prevent it from detonating, or make the detonation only a partial one . . . exactly what is your attack like?"

"It most closely resembles a particle beam weapon," said Sailor Venus, "And my long range attack is like a laser. It is more precise but not as powerful. One of the senshi has electromagnetic powers. Would a powerful electric shock destroy the electronics and disarm it? Perhaps a magnetic field?"

"Most likely either one would set it off," said the Captain, settling into a chair rather heavily.

The nuclear expert said, "It could prevent a nuclear detonation . . . but I can't guarantee it. The nuclear device itself is clearly designed as a ballistic missile warhead. Very rugged design to survive re-entry." As he spoke, the nuclear expert went to the window and began to open the blinds--and he found himself suddenly on the floor as Venus' chain jerked his feet out from under him. "What? Why did you--"

"If the enemy sees us they may set off the bomb!," said Sailor Venus, "Or they may execute hostages to retaliate!"

"She's right," said General Thysson, closing the minute opening in the blinds the expert had made.

"And they have a man on the roof with a fifty caliber rifle," said Colonel Gage. "He's got nothing much to do but watch the windows here. I think maybe the lady kept you from growing a couple of new assholes."

The expert picked himself up slowly, glowering but saying nothing.

General Thysson said, "Thank you for your help, ah--"

"Seerabinessu," said Venus. "Sailor Venus."

"Well . . . Thank you, Sailor Venus. It looks like they have us by the ears here. Maybe a combined operation with Colonel--"

"There is something else we can do," interrupted Sailor Venus, the ghost of the last General of the Moon Kingdom very apparent in her commanding voice. "But first--First Moon!"

"Hai."

"You will return the Second Moon to base and remain there. You will be under the orders of the base commander."

"But Auntie--" Chibi Moon started to protest--and then she glanced down at Kimi Moon, and said, "Hai."

"Wait, First Moon. Sensei, Greymage, return with the First Moon."

"Why must I return?" protested Naru in the Old Tongue. "I can--"

Sailor Venus answered in the Old Tongue. "You are in pointless danger here. Perhaps you can help get Sailor Moon back. Go back with the First Moon."

Thysson watched as the two "ordinary" women huddled close to the two angels and then vanished with them, even as the President had appeared with them and the other angels--the senshi--in the Pentagon's inner courtyard not much more than an hour before. <I wonder when the Klingons will show up . . .> thought Thysson. But it was real. He turned back to the blond one, the leader, and asked, "Just exactly what else can you do?"

"We can combine our powers for an attack," said Sailor Venus. "This should be powerful enough to destroy the bomb very quickly."

Colonel Gage spoke up. "If you're sure you can do it, what's the problem? Why didn't you tell us before?"

"The attack will also destroy the White House," said Sailor Venus.

<And kill everyone in it>, General Thysson added in his mind. "What's this attack like?"

"Something like the beam from Independence Day," said Saturn, who had seen that a lot along with other old movies waiting for Rhea to come.

"We don't use it much," coughed Mars. "It usually takes too long to set up in a fight."

"And it does much damage," said Pluto. "The last time it was used--"

Sailor Venus cut her off. "It is very powerful, at least the equivalent of an attack by several warplanes, but concentrated on a small area--a few meters across."

Sailor Mercury added, "Now that we know exactly where the bomb is, I can aim our attack using my sensor. It will not miss."

General Thysson turned to sulking nuclear expert. "Would something like that be enough?"

"As the good Captain here said," the expert said sharply, "I wouldn't bet my life on it."




The possible nuclear weapon in the White House was the biggest secret in the USA since the Manhattan Project, but it began to leak almost immediately. Slowly, at first . . . the inevitable calls to loved ones, friends, just this one exception . . . and the first echelon to get The Word were mostly security-minded themselves . . . but they had their own exceptions, of course, and The Word spread to a second echelon, a little distorted, of course. So it proceeded, each new generation of The Word gaining new permutations. It was slowed by a remarkably convenient breakdown in the local phone system--a breakdown which certain federal agencies seemed exempted from. But The Word spread and mutated, and by the time General Thysson informed the President how real and how serious the situation was, The Word had reached His Honor Winston Claybourne, Mayor of the District of Columbia, in versions from the third generation through the seventh. And, of course, it had reached the press, too. So when the "fighters" as their spokesman called them--spokeswoman now, according to word from the DC police, which still had a hand in the negotiations--made their latest "generous" gesture by releasing their remaining African-American prisoners, the mayor found himself fielding more questions about the bomb threat rumors instead of more about the ordeal of the hostages or even the mysterious battle of the night before . . .




4:56 pm EDT

"Ladies and gentlemen of the press," Winston Claybourne said, "If I may use an old-fashioned courtesy . . . These rumors are just that, rumors. If there was anything to them, my office would have been informed long ago. Now, just a moment before any more questions," he said, holding out both hands like a traffic cop ordering a halt. "I've been hearing the same crazy rumors that the people in control of the White House now have nerve gas or ebola germs or even atomic bombs. But stop and think, all of you. Those rumors just don't make sense. The people we are dealing with here are not stupid. If they really had tons and tons of poison gas, or barrels and barrels of some deadly disease culture, or atomic bombs, they wouldn't need to risk their lives to take over the White House. This talk has some people packing everything into their cars and heading out of town. But it is just talk, just fool talk, and I'm telling all of you citizens out there not to listen to it. We've got the biggest storm coming to these parts in a good long while, and any of you folks without an important job to do now should be home getting ready for it, not out on the roads having accidents and gettin' cold and wet and hungry and maybe lost and out of gas somewhere for nothing but some fool talk. Now, that's all I'm gonna say about that, so don't ask me any more about it, you'd just be wasting your time and mine."

When the press conference was over, the White House Press Secretary extended a hand to the Mayor. "You made very timely remarks, Your Honor. Exactly what we need right now."

The Mayor responded cordially to those remarks. He said nothing at all about getting his own family out of town, which he had arranged about two hours earlier. Clayborne was far outside the the White House loop, but he had a good nose for rumor, and he smelled some truth underneath the stories that were still spreading.




6:21 pm EDT

Charles Sumpter waited until his debriefers had seemed finished with their questions before asking his own. It was not a long wait; his story was simple. After being taken away from the East Room, he was put with the other African American men in a small basement room. There he had been literally in the dark most of the time. One of their number was a Muslim who understood enough Arabic to catch that their captors talked about "djinn." But that was the only inkling Sumpter had that what they had meant was an Angel Incident. "Do you mean to tell me this Angel stuff is real?"

"Bishoujo senshi," said Major Vierhofen, someone Sumpter had never met but who seemed to know Ballin and the Acting Director quite well now. "That's what the Japanese call them."

Kerkorian said, "You've answered all our questions well enough, Mr. Sumpter, but I'm wondering . . . Do you think you remember everything?"

"What do you mean?"

"There are reports of memory lapses," said Vierhofen a little too quickly. "Have you had anything like that?"

Sumpter was about to say he didn't, but then--"Yes. I did have something like that. It was a few hours before the takeover."

"Was anyone with you?" asked the the Acting Director--the Acting Director of the FBI was asking him.

"I was with Ms. Jones, the woman you told us about at the briefing. And Mrs. Chiba. She was the only guest in a wheelchair. Also a guard, Officer Jardin, she was there." Sumpter paused. "I didn't see Officer Jardin after the takeover. Is she--"

"I'm afraid she was one of the casualties," said Vierhofen.

Sumpter forgot about Mrs. Chiba, thinking about Jardin and her two children. None of his debriefers cared to remind him about her.




7:00 pm EDT

Walter Rostov began speaking to the President and a small group that did not come close to filling all the chairs around the conference table. "Project Galatine was set up at the NSA because, I'm sure you all know, the monitoring of sensitive technologies has been a National Security Agency responsibity since the passage of the Church-Huong act of 1975. The original intent was to investigate and if possibly acquire technologies developed by the many secret programs established by the Soviet Union, and prevent their acquisition by non-friendly nations or organizations."

"Galatine began to acquire material on the so-called magic girl incidents in Japan two years after the collapse of the former Soviet Union. There were also incidents in Britain, but we did not directly investigate them until several years later. The reason we investigated was that there were certain indicators that the "magic girl" incidents, at least some of them, involved the use of energy weapons."

"Our investigations eventually covered a good bit of the world. Our investigations show fairly convincing evidence for some magic-girl incidents in Germany, Italy, Greece, Australia, Botswana, South Africa, Mexico, and several Caribbean nations, as well as the US. There were particularly interesting incidents reported in Los Angeles and the Chicago area--very strange, Chicago. But we found nothing conclusive. The incidents peaked about nine years ago, and then rapidly tapered off. Interestingly, they dropped about two years earlier in Japan, where the phenomenon began."

"We were seldom able to investigate these incidents directly, so we had to rely for the most part on cooperation with other agencies, Central Intelligence, the Bureau, and a few trusted overseas sources. While the total amount of evidence we gathered was impressive, we did not get compelling evidence for any single incident."

"The reports of angels began in California a little over ten years ago, but the first credible angel incident was in Michigan seven years ago. It involved Xavier Goudan, the so-called cabin killer. Once we had that connection, we looked at Bureau records and discovered a statistical correlation between the occurance of angel incidents and the abrupt end of the careers of some suspected serial killers."

"The Lake Merritt incident changed the direction of the Galatine investigation. The evidence seemed indisputable that at least some of the so-called angel girl incidents were authentic, and did not involve weapons of any sort we expected."

"Our attempts to more closely investigate the parties involved were blocked. As you are aware, Minako Jones is the stepdaughter of D. A. Alvarson, head of the Grey Group. We--"

"You are not in the Agency any more, Mr. Rostov," said the National Security Advisor with irritation. "Please, speak for yourself."

"Very well. I believe Alvarson exerted pressure to quash the investigation. Nevertheless, certain colleagues and I managed to continue the investigation on a low level. We did manage do assemble statistical evidence that makes a connection between Ms. Jones and her friends and the angel incidents almost certain. That is what I was attempting to tell you, Madame President, the last time we met. I presume," Rostov said, "You have altered your opinions as to the plausibility of these so-called angels."

The President smiled, totally inappropriately. She said, "Go on. The Acting Director of the Bureau informs me that this investigation of yours continued even after Dr. Threlkeld took over the Agency. Much to the surprise of Dr. Threlkeld."

"Yes, Madame President," said Rostov. "The late Director Halinan cooperated to do this. He said he had found something important, just before he died. I'm afraid I do not know what it was. I was instrumental in setting up this unnofficial continuation of the Galatine investigation, but I have not intervened in NSA affairs in any way since I left the agency."

Rostov looked around the table, sizing up people. The President he could not read, but the Acting Director was another matter. "Ms. Kerkorian, I presume you do know what my late friend discovered. May I ask what it was?"

The President spoke. "No, I'm afraid you may not, Mr. Rostov. Galatine is Top Secret and will remain so. You may go now."




The pretty red-headed waitress reappeared with more drinks. "Usagi-kun, aren't you afraid Rei-kun will catch you and tell Mamoru?"

"No, Unazuki," said the girl--perhaps a bit older now. She was dressed in a simple formal now.

"You have changed again," Nagy said after the waitress vanished again. "You are taller, too."

The girl said, "Yes . . . This is the dress I wore for my first dance with Jimmy-chan. Also for the first time he kissed me . . . I was always a little taller than Jimmy-chan. It was worse for him in these high heels." She sipped her drink.

"Who is the waitress?"

"She was Furuhata Unazuki. I do not think it is not really her, Nagy-san. She is as I most remember her, working at Fruit Parlor Crown. I think she must have had some talent like Naru-chan because so many of our old enemies sought her out." The girl sipped her drink again. "She married a famous sumo wrestler, an American from Hawaii. They had a little girl, but the marriage didn't work out and they divorced quickly. He had a drinking problem. He killed himself driving drunk just a few months later. And after that . . . "

The girl took another sip. "After that Unazuki wanted to get far away, so she took a job in the United Nations in New York as an interpreter. She stopped by my house to visit on her way there, but I was away. When I got back, she was dead. A boy stabbed her because he was angry that she did not have enough money on her when he robbed Unazuki. He was only thirteen."

She sipped again, but now she was the Death Angel. "He will be eligible for parole next year. We shall see then." Another sip. "After all that, a boy with a knife ended her life. Motoki and Reika are raising her daughter." She finished the drink.

Furuhata Unazuki, forever seventeen, appeared to serve another.




Kensington, CA
4:55 pm PDT

Lorraine Nussbaum Tiggs was in the kitchen preparing some formula for Persephone when Sarah Uer appeared in--literally, with a shopping cart overflowing with groceries. Mrs. Umino's older girls didn't blink an eye; they simply started helping unload the cart.

Lorraine said, "This is what you were doing before, when you visited, isn't it?"

Sarah replied, "Yes. This is the first thing I learned to do. It's kind of a long walk to the market and everyone is getting hungry. I can't drive yet, you know."

"I could have driven you."

"I guess so . . . I didn't think to ask you. Don't tell my mom about it, will you?

No one was going to tell her mother anything now . . . Sarah's mother was the floating lady, the one that looked like an Angel of Death. And so had Sarah, when they had come here.

<Marty must have known.>

Lorraine noticed Sarah give her a funny look, but neither of them said anything about it.

A few minutes later, Lorraine glanced up at the forgotten kitchen TV and saw that the President was speaking . . .




8:00 pm EDT

"Good evening, America," said the President to millions of citizens. "As you know, an unidentified group seized control of the White House two nights ago and, despite a rescue attempt that freed myself and a number of hostages, this group is still in possession of the Executive Mansion and at least some living hostages."

"It has long been the policy of this nation to refuse to give in to the demands of hostage takers. This is a policy I have continued to support. However, in this case, the issue is more than the hostages still being held in the White House. Because of this, I have ordered the Federal agencies concerned to accede to the demands of this group as well as we can."

"All prisoners held in Federal facilities will be released forthwith with full pardons. I have requested the cooperation of the several governors of States where prisoners on the list are being held in State prisons. I have asked the governments of France, Japan, and Israel to release the remaining prisoners."

"An aircraft will be provided to evacuate the group. Loaded aboard will be the payment that was specified in the demands as released yesterday."

"Let me speak directly to the group holding the White House. I know at least one of you is listening and understands me."

"You have succeeded. We are granting you everything in our power out of the demands your leader sent out yesterday. You will be allowed to leave this country and proceed to whatever safe haven you have prepared, and you will not be pursued. This will happen provided you do two things: That you release your remaining hostages, and that you disarm your device and leave it also."

"Some hours ago the Mayor of the District Columbia spoke what seemed good sense. The worst storm in many years seems about to hit Washington, and it is a very poor time to be out on the road. However, since word keeps spreading of the threats the people holding the White House may have made, many of you are leaving the District, and more are thinking of leaving."

"My advice is as the Mayor's: stay where you are. Fleeing our Capitol is still more likely to bring you to harm than staying here. However, certain key members of the government have left the Capitol, including the Vice President. I myself will remain here at the Pentagon until the resolution of this crisis, but I have taken steps to ensure that our government will continue without disruption regardless of its outcome."

"The reason for this selective evacuation is this: The hostage-takers have made an additional threat, to set of a nuclear device in an American city. They made this threat with the proviso that it not be publicized. But since the word keeps spreading and spreading, as people who know of the evacuation act on their own to inform their friends and loved ones, this demand is moot."

"We have acquired intelligence that the people holding the White House are in possession of a genuine nuclear device. I am informed by Civil Defense that a general evacuation is not advisable, given the approach of Hurricane Bartlett. The best estimate is that it would take 48 hours to evacuate the city and the surrounding area in perfect weather. Since the deadline our opponents have set is only 20 hours away, a general evacuation does not offer much hope."

"However, this country is a democracy, and its citizens have a right to make informed decisions of their own. I hope most of you in and around our nation's Capitol will decide to stay home and prepare to weather these two crises, the storm and the threat. But it is your own decision to make. I have ordered that our armed forces allow people to proceed out of the area as long as they do not block vital routes in and out of the Capitol."

"Now I am going to address the people who made this threat again. Because of the storm, normal air travel from the area will be impossible tonight and probably all of tomorrow. Ground transportation should be reasonably safe by noon. The aircraft we are providing you will be flying to an airport far enough north to be out of the storm track, and if you leave at noon tomorrow, you should be able to reach it before dark."

"If you set off your device, the United States of America well spare no expense and no resource seeking out the people who sponsored your attack. If you are, in fact, acting for a national government, that nation will find itself at war with the United States of America. Think long and hard about that."




Someone new stepped out of the shadows, not the girl serving drinks. Her hair was the gray of platinum, her eyes gunmetal. Her gown was gray, with intricate designs and symbols picked out in fine colored thread. She wore a grey babushka of the same color, and similar decoration. She wore a necklace made of small bones. She carried a long staff, silver, with a silver replica of a human skull set at the top. From under the babushka, on each side of her head, sprays of feathers protruded, concealing most of her ears.

"Grey Lady," said Nagy's companion in this place, now very ordinary in shirt and jeans, "How are you here?"

"This place is in my provenance, child," answered the woman of gray. "But not yet yours. You cannot remain here safely." The woman turned her gaze on Nagy. "And who are you?"

"I am Colonel Istvan Nagy," he replied. "And you?"

"Dr. Goodman will do. You will not have heard of me," said the woman, "But your people know of my mother. You have gypsy blood."

"Do you read minds like this one?"

"No," said the woman, "But there is no mistaking the aura of a true gypsy, not by any who know the Arts." She tapped her staff on the limitless floor, made gestures, spoke words that meant nothing to Nagy and yet . . .

The woman announced, "You are bound. Bound to one another, and bound to a task. You cannot leave here until that task is completed."

"A task?" asked Nagy "What?"

"That," said the woman of gray, "I do not know yet. Sailor Moon, how did you use the ginzuishou?"

"I have not used it," Nagy's companion replied, now a lovely nude angel with a jewel set at the base of her throat.

"It has been used recently," said the woman of gray. "Tell me what has happened. I have not been to your world; I came when I noticed you were here."


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