Disclaimer: Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, and those she's licensed it to (and those who've sublicensed it from them, but )
I've fired a Desert Eagle .50 AE - two rounds, and it made my hand hurt. I much prefer M1911 style handguns, but . . ..
I alight on the short wall next to my target, then drop onto my butt, arranging my skirt to provide minimal distraction. That done, `Miyamura-san, I need your help.'
He starts, his suit rustling as he turns to look at me, `Help?' He continues to stare.
`You are family, are you not?'
He looks startled, then smiles, `You too? It's really neat to know that superheroes are-'
I clue in to what he's saying, `Oh, that too, but I meant that you're Yakuza,' I tell him bluntly.
He startles, again, `Don't say that.'
`There's no one around, I could hear them,' I look at my hands, `Our enemies are getting stronger. Magical attacks take time, and they are getting smarter, attacking in greater numbers. I want a gun. Something with "stopping power".'
`Will a gun work on these monsters?'
`It will startle them. If they're bulletproof, it should knock them back. If they're not,' I let myself fade off.
`I'll see what I can do, Sailor . . . ' he fades off.
`I will do my best. Thank you, for protecting all of us,' he practically gushes, bowing deeply.
`Thank you, for helping.'
He grins, broadly.
Later, back home, I shake my head. A gay yakuza. Who'da thunk it.
The next day, at our meeting, I speak up, `Kunzite's dead, but the youma have been getting stronger. Mundane weapons aren't sure to work, but they tend to be very fast to use, unlike our attacks.'
`Mundane?' Usagi-chan asks.
`Guns, swords, explosives.'
`Oh,' she says in a small voice, then, after a few moments, `I know where I can get a naginata.'
`Do you know how to use it?' Mako-chan asks, gently.
`Everyone bring something they can use. Tomorrow?' Minako-chan asks.
`Day after,' Usagi-chan says, firmly.
The next night, I step out of a dark alley in front of Miyamura-san.
His bald spot shines in the moonlight, and his dark suit is a little rumpled.
`Oh good, you've shown up. I've got a gun for you. My boss has some more ammo, but you've got to get it yourself. He's a little worried I've cracked.'
`This,' and he holds out something large and dark, `is a Desert Eagle fifty calibre AE. The most powerful handgun in the world. In America, the rounds cost two dollars each. Here,' he hands her four magazines, `That's a hundred thousand yen worth of ammo. The gun's three hundred thousand. Either I'm crazy, or you are a real Sailor Warrior. He's got another eight clips, and five boxes of ammo.'
`Thank you,' I give him a hug.
He hugs me back, a little awkwardly.
`Hey, I'll call my boss, and he'll meet you at Akie's, near Tokyo tower, in about an hour, OK?'
I think a moment, `Alley behind, OK?'
I wait on the roof, the gunbelt around my waist, the clips in the ammo pouches across the front.
A well dressed man walks into the alley, looking around expectantly.
I land silently behind him, then touch him on the shoulder.
He startles, then turns around, `Sailor Mercury. So he didn't go crazy, after all,' he sets down his case, then opens it, and hands over the first of eight clips.
He notices the way I fumble with it, getting it into the first empty pouch, `Have you ever used a gun?'
I look up at him, then decide on the truth, `No.'
`Get this put away,' and he hands me the rest of the ammo, one clip at a time, then a full and a partially empty box of ammo.
I look at the boxes, then stick them in that not-space where I can store a few things, `Miyamura-san said you had five boxes.'
`A hundred rounds. Sixty-four of them are in those clips.'
I blink, `Oh,' and blush.
`Don't worry, it's the kind of thing I thought, once. Meet me at the New Sanno, in an hour. I'll teach you the basics.'
`Gotcha,' I touch on the edge of Akie's roof, and am away.
I don't know why I'm here, but I am. On the roof of the New Sanno, a hotel that caters to the American military. Waiting for a yakuza, who said he's going to teach me.
I must be crazy.
He walks up, looking up. He waves.
I drop to the ground.
`Follow me,' and he starts to walk away from the hotel.
I feel, as usual, terribly conspicuous, but that's OK.
He leads me to a not-terribly well-kept building, and then inside.
Down two flights of stairs to the basement, then into something rather blatantly illegal. A shooting range.
`First, the range rules.
`Don't load until you are ready to fire.
`Keep all guns pointed down-range at all times.
`Don't point any gun, even an unloaded one, at anyone.
`Then there are the basic safety rules.
`Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
`A gun is only your friend when isn't pointed at something you like.
`Keep the safety on, but don't trust it.
`And then, we have the basics of marksmanship.
`Steady position, aim, breathing, and trigger squeeze.'
I interrupt him, `What?'
`I'll elaborate on the basics of marksmanship,' he smiles.
`Good,' I tell him.
`Here,' he hands me a pistol, `Clear it.'
`Pull the slide back, and look through the ejection port into the chamber, and make sure there's nothing in it.'
I face the back of the room, point the gun in that direction, and work the slide, looking inside. Nothing, as expected.
`Steady position means, that when you can, you use external support to help aim, because random movements will throw off your aim.'
I hold the light weapon in my hand, sighting down the barrel, lining up the front blade with the notched bar at the back.
`Good, I guess you're really strong. You'd have to be, to fight monsters, I guess. Always aim center of mass, don't go for fancy shots if you don't have too.'
I adjust my aim down a little on the target.
`Always try for the same sight picture,'
`Put the sights on the same part of the target every time, and it should hit the same place.'
`Breathing. You see how your aim moves as you breathe?'
I nod, `Always fire at the same point in your breathing, either after you've exhaled or inhaled. Breathe out, hold it, squeeze with just the tip of your trigger finger, slowly, not jerking it.'
`Dry?' I ask him.
`For the first little bit.'
So I try it.
`You jerked it. Softer.'
`Watch your breathing.'
`You pulled it again.'
An hour or so later, he lets me use live ammo.
`Forty-five ACP. Will knock a man down, even if he's all hopped up on religious fervor or PCP. Once he's down, he normally won't get back up.'
I manage to get the first few shots right center of mass, but the next few are all over.
`You're getting sloppy. Watch your breathing and trigger squeeze.'
Two more, change clip, then I just empty the next eight into the target.
`Good,' he calls the target back, `look, all ten in the center of mass.'
`So, this is just like the Desert Eagle?'
`No, but the ammo's a heck of a lot cheaper. Let's fire a few from that, no more than eight.'
`OK,' I set the Colt M1911A1 down, leaving the slide back. I draw the .50, noting that it weighs a noticeable amount more. I pull out a clip, and that, too, weighs a lot more than for the .45. I slide it into place, feeling and hearing the faint click as it locks, then work the slide.
I can feel it pulling at my arm as I bring it to bear. I fire slowly, carefully, four times.
I can tell they've all gone where I want them, center ring, center of mass on the target. I smile, drop the clip, slap the slide back and catch the ejecting round.
`Thank you,' I holster the .50, thumb the round back into the clip, and pull out the partly empty box of .50 ammo, then thumb four more rounds into it.
`Thank you,' he says, and leads me up the stairs as I fumble the clip into its pouch.
`So . . . ' I start, pulling my gunbelt from my bag.
Usagi uncaps her PVC pipe, slipping an elegant naginata from it.
`Hit up the JGSDF, they gave me some training and these,' Mako-chan pulls a green spherical object from her bag, the pull ring and handle marking it as a hand grenade.
`My uncle does construction, he "lost" these into Sailor Mars' hands,' Rei-chan sets down a block of clay-like substance, some wire, and a few other oddments.
`The JGSDF gave me this,' Minako-chan opens her guitar case, and extracts a large rifle, `A B.A.R., and a few hundred rounds of A.P.I.'
`Ei Pi Ai?' Usagi-chan asks.
`Armor Piercing Incendiary.'
Minako-chan smiles, `Well, I guess it's time to go.'
`Yah,' Usagi-chan says, then, `Moon Prism Power,'
We pick up our new gear and head outside. Minako-chan is almost completely covered with crossing ammo belts, holding pouches of B.A.R. magazines. She's one in the rifle, which is slung across her back. Rei-chan has her demolition kit in a black bag, slung over one shoulder. Mako-chan has her grenades in a beige canvas bag, also slung over her shoulder. Usagi-chan is holding her naginata. Everyone joins hands, Rei-chan and Usagi-chan rather awkwardly, as they have the naginata to hold as well.
A few minutes concentration, then Artemis calls out, `Sailor . . .
`It's cold,' Usagi-chan whines, then smiles when Rei-chan snaps at her.
Rei-chan smiles back, tension fading.
Usagi-chan holds her naginata in a light grip, and leads the way towards the entrance.
Tuxedo Kamen suddenly appears, calling for help. Trap much?
Even Usagi-chan sees it, dropping back against Rei-chan, naginata in a guard position.
I call up my visor, cursing my stupidity in not having done so earlier, and look. There.
`Sailor Special,' I gesture with my left hand, bringing it back to my neck, then forward, `Attack!' I call, quick-drawing the .50. I take a moment to aim center-of-mass while the youma is distracted, then fire.
The youma goes down, and the illusion disappears.
Tentacles reach for us, stretching over the ice. Mako-chan pulls the pin on one of her grenades, letting the lever fly off, then holds it for a moment as the tentacles get closer. Just when I start to worry, she throws it.
It bounces twice, near the root of the tentacles, then explodes with a deafening noise. I feel as much as hear sharp bits of metal whiz by us, but the tentacles drop to the ground, severed. They turn to dust and fall to the snow.
`Did you kill them?' Usagi-chan asks, starting forward again.
`I don't know,' I say, `I think Ma-Jupiter's are dead, but I'm not sure about the one I shot. I read three as still alive.'
`Good, how much further?'
`Eight hundred meters.'
`Suck,' Mi-Venus says.
`Where are the youma?'
`That way,' I point.
`And the entrance?'
I point the way, about pi over six off.
`So they are in position to intercept us.'
`Or run away,' Mars says cheerfully, rolling little balls of plastique as we walk.
A bright glow appears under Moon's feet.
`Moon! Move!' Venus yells, bringing the B.A.R. to bear. She fires as tentacles reach through the ice. The 30-06 rounds punch neat little holes in the tentacles, which leak green blood. The youma foolishly pulls herself up after them, and I shoot it in the head. It fades into dust.
Moon gestures with her naginata, and we proceed.
`I've lost them,' I tell her, suddenly panicking, computer in one hand, .50 in the other.
`Argh!' the hoarse scream marks the appearance of both of the remaining youma.
Both Minako and I bring our weapons to bear, but can't get a clear shot at either of the youma gripping Mars.
A tentacle flies through the air, and green blood splurts everywhere.
Both youma fade to dust as Moon kneels next to Mars, cradling the injured girl in her arms.
`I'm OK,' We hear Mars say, then moan a little as she tries to stand.
`No, you're not,' Moon tells her.
`I can walk, and I can fight. That's what matters right now,' she replies.
`Not all,' Moon tells her, then kisses her on the lips. It is not a "just friends" kiss.
`No, not all,' Mars agrees, as Moon helps her to her feet, both of their faces red.
No other attacks come during the four hundred meters it takes us to get to the entrance.
Once inside, that changes. Youma appear around every corner. They aren't very strong, but they are frequent, and we start to run low on ammo.
Venus' B.A.R. is chewing through ammo like it's going out of style, half her pouches are empty, and magazines litter our back-path, despite her attempts to keep them.
I've lost two magazines, but the other three I've emptied are back on my belt.
Jupiter is down to about a dozen grenades.
Mars has blown down six cross-corridors, and has less than half of her block of plastique left.
Moon is covered in multi-colored blood, her hair and costume matted with it.
Another corner, another dozen youma.
These fall on their faces, `Save us, please!' they cry.
Jupiter tosses a grenade dubiously in one hand.
Moon stares at them. `From what?'
`Here!' one cries.
`Well, here does suck, but why would you think we'd save you?'
`Because Beryl hates you, calls you weak, says you care about your warriors. Because you are strong.'
`I will do my best,' Moon promises them, in a sure, confidant voice,
`A few of you lead me to Queen Beryl, and the rest evacuate all of the people you can.'
`Yes,' one of them says, and three of them get up, start down the corridor in front of us. The rest scramble off in all directions.
Mars gives her a gooey look, and Jupiter one of disbelief.
Jupiter asks, `What if it is a trap?'
`Then we'll have an escort.'
I smile at that, and we proceed down the corridor at a trot.
`Duck!' yells one of our escort, and we all hit the ground as a huge energy blast sends shrapnel flying through the area we just occupied.
Another one of our escort, a pretty blue-skinned girl, takes a large jagged chunk of rock to the chest. `Thank you,' she says, smiling, before she turns to dust.
Moon traces her bloody fingers through it, then wipes it across each cheek, just under her eyes, smearing the blood already there, giving her an even fiercer look.
Another two corridors, and we're entering a large, poorly-lit room. A woman sits at the back, in a great, skull-shaped throne. Tuxedo Kamen, Endymion, is at her side.
Venus and I each empty a magazine into the woman. The force knocks her back, but she's otherwise unharmed.
While she's recovering, Moon calls, `Moon Healing Escalation!'
The attack smashes into Beryl, knocking her down.
Endymion charges forward, lashing out with a black rose.
Moon bats it from the air with the blade of her naginata, then clubs Endymion in the side of the head with its butt. He crashes heavily to the ground, stunned.
Beryl is trying to rise.
Usagi is holding the naginata in her left hand again, the right occupied with the Moon Stick, `Moon Healing Escalation!'
Beryl is knocked back to her knees.
`Moon Healing Escalation!' Moon calls again, getting paler.
Beryl falls flat on her face, out cold.
`Metallia!' Endymion calls. A dark force streams into the room, flooding into his body. He grows, an evil glint to his pretty face, and turns to face Moon, dark power swirling around him.
Moon gasps, weakens, then Mars lays her hand on Moon's shoulder.
Moon stiffens, releases the naginata, letting it rest against her shoulder, taking the Moon Stick in both hands. Bloody white light shines forth from her as her blood-soaked uniform turns into ribbons, then a gown that would be white, if not for the fact that it is just as bloody as her uniform was. All of us move to stand with her.
The light grows, as does the darkness around Endymion-Metallia.
The Moon Stick releases the Ginzuishou, which grows like a flower blossoming.
`Moon Prism Power!'
The glow streams off, wrapping around Metallia-Endymion, absorbing the darkness easily. A shrieking keen fills the air, and a shadow pulls out of Endymion's shrinking form, vanishing into the light.
We all fall to our knees, and I look for the strange voice. Curled up, chest barely moving as she breathes, at our backs, is Beryl, her dress bleached a muddy brown.
Moon shifts, and I manage to turn towards her. She's smiling. `We won. Wow. And I thought-' she cuts herself off, and raps her knuckles sharply against the side of her head three times.
I step over a youma sleeping in Usagi-chan's yard, and ring the bell.
A youma answers, `Ami-sama! I'll tell Usagi-sama you're here!' she gushes.
`Thank you,' I tell her, stepping inside as the youma rushes off.
`Ami-chan! What are we going to do! I've got six hundred thousand people to look after, and no where to house them. The Japanese government is getting upset, the Tokyo government is already upset, and . . . ' Usagi-chan grabs me, wraps me in a hug, and presses her face to my shoulder.
`We could invade Manchuria. Can't do worse than-' is all I get out before she interrupts me.
`Ami-chan! You're a genius! Well, I already knew that, but that's perfect!' she gushes.
I stare at the wall in horror.
Dark Kingdom Rising
long ago: came up with this
3168/Aftermath/15: log added, started.
3170/Chaos/4: reread, tiny edit, title block
3170/Aftermath/17: Added series title to the end ^_^
3183/Confusion/12: Fixed some typos, uploaded to ff.n
3183/Confusion/13: Fixed the formatting issues, replaced my scene spacers