With what’s been recently made clear to us, the people in the palace were in something of a panic. Sailors Mercury, Venus, and Neptune had a hard time keeping the people calm. Endymion called us and Sailor Moon, now wearing a pink gown and going by her name Usagi, instead of her childhood name of Chibiusa. “As I understand it, you know these…Cybermen…personally,” observed Endymion.
“I don’t, but the rest of my team do,” I explained. “They can explain it better than I can. Batman, why don’t you tell him since you’ve been trying to develop dossiers about them.”
“Very well,” rasped Batman. “Like us, the Cybermen come from another universe. The current models we see are the result of two models coming together. The more prominent model came from their prime universe, orbiting Earth from its twin planet, Mondas. Some disaster caused Mondas to drift and the Mondasians were getting weaker, their lifespans getting shorter. The Mondasian scientists and doctors developed prosthetic organs and limbs until they were almost completely replaced with metal, becoming nothing more than brains in suits. The other model was from a universe parallel to that one and had a similar story, just that a psychopathic genius forged them on that version of Earth in its present day. The two models came into contact and upgraded each other until they became a newer model that can adapt to anything. The model we faced was slightly different to the ones we’ve just met today. Shocker Rift must have had a hand in that.”
“Shocker Rift?” asked Endymion.
“A terrorist organization,” explained Lacey. “One that recruits other bad guys from other universes, living or dead. Queen Beryl would make a good recruit for Shocker Rift.”
“What do they do?” asked Usagi. “Tell me, what did they do to my mother?!” This was going to be harder to tell her.
“They’ve removed all emotions and slaved her mind and knowledge to their hive mind, the Cyberiad,” replied Joshua.
“Josh!” hissed Lukas.
“And lying to her would make any difference?!” argued Joshua.
“He has a point,” burbled Sludgiona. “And, if the Cyber-Slammers are any indication, they can upgrade ANY life-form, not just humans.”
“They mentioned that life-forms like you can’t be upgraded,” mumbled Flora.
“Yet,” answered Sludgiona.
“You think you’ll be used as a test subject?” asked Tonje.
“Are we just going to ignore the fact that we just told a man and his daughter that an important woman in their life is considered dead?!” snapped Lexicon. We were snapped out of our argument to see Usagi crying into her dad’s shoulder. We were kicking ourselves for that.
“Maybe…I mean, she only just became that today…” mused Lacey.
“What are you talking about?”
“The Source might help free Neo Queen Serenity from Cyberman control,” explained Lacey. Endymion and Usagi gave their undivided attention to her after that. “I said MIGHT,” warned Lacey.
“What’s this Source you’re talking about?” asked Usagi.
“The Source of Chaos,” replied Lacey. “Believe it or not, I’m a new Horseman of the Apocalypse.” Usagi and Endymion leapt from their seats. “Relax! The Apocalypse isn’t happening now,” assured Lacey. “In any event, we all have these crystal spheres that work as a manifestation of each aspect of the apocalypse. I have the Source of Chaos, since an apocalypse usually has people running and screaming. Since I have that source, I can utilize its powers.”
“How can you do that?” I asked.
“If there was just enough chaotic energy,” continued Lacey, “in theory, something new could be created. Now, if Neo Queen Serenity’s Star Seed could be coaxed out of Cyber-Leader Gi and into a body that was exactly like her original before she was upgraded…”
“We might stand a chance against the Cybermen!” realized Usagi.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” urged Endymion. “What’s the risk?” Lacey hesitated before answering.
“I’d…rather not tell you…” she floundered.
“What’s the risk?!” insisted Endymion. Lacey sighed.
“The energy would cause the Star Seed to crack, killing her forever,” she finally explained. That killed the mood.
“Lovely,” I murmured.
“There has to be another option!” begged Usagi.
“The only other option is to kill her outright,” replied Sludgiona.
“We’re NOT resorting to murder!” hissed Batman.
“Her soul has been ripped from her original body and her body is now altered beyond what we know,” replied Sludgiona. “The only way she’ll know peace is to kill her with honor.”
“What kind of twisted view is that?!” I snapped.
“It’s the Tarlaxian way,” dismissed Sludgiona. “The soul cannot rest if its original body is altered in any way.”
“Out of the question!” I insisted.
“And using the Source will guarantee that she’ll live?!” argued Sludgiona.
“It looks like that’s the best option!” shouted Usagi.
“Your Highness, think about this,” urged Lacey. “There’s a chance that she’ll die in the process.”
“If I see her die,” insisted Usagi, “at least I want the knowledge that we’ve tried to save her.”
“…Very well,” sighed Lacey.
“Then we need to find out where the Source is,” I declared. “After that, we need to find the Cybermen’s base.”
“I believe Ami can help in that regard,” offered Endymion.
“Perfect,” I answered. “Lukas, Flora, see if you can help her. Batman, Joshua, Usagi, we need to coordinate an attack plan. Lexicon, keep watch over Endymion. Sludgiona, Tonje, I need you to help guard the gates with those assigned to watch duty.”
“Look at you,” praised Joshua, “becoming a leader.”
“…Thanks,” I mumbled, blushing and smiling a bit.
“All the necessary equipment for searching the city is online,” reported the Cyber-Deputy.
“Excellent,” I replied. I turned to the Communications Officer. “Inform the fleet that we’re ready to begin.”
“Leader, the Source has yet to be located!” reminded the Cyber-Deputy.
“Do you question my authority?” I asked.
“We should, at least, wait before communicating,” suggested the Cyber-Deputy.
“And will you answer for the delay?” I inquired. The Cyber-Deputy understood that I will not be questioned but did not yet understand the logic. As the Communications Officer set up the console, I explained. “Our energy reserves are limited. To search now would only be an expenditure of unnecessary power. We must conserve energy until the Source is located. The Vortex Riders will find it. They are led by one who has never traveled with the original Riders, a tactical error on their part. Once it is confirmed that they have located the Source, we shall take it in time for the fleet to arrive and annexation can begin.”
It took all day, but our battle plan was laid out for tomorrow. I wandered the halls of the palace, not getting any sleep. I went onto a balcony and sat on the bench near the railing. I sighed and looked around, seeing the firelight from campfires for those that made it into the palace for safety. A glance to my left caused me to gasp in shock! Batman was perched on the railing, looking at the skyline. “The Cybermen really did a number on Crystal Tokyo,” he observed. “Not even the Joker could top this.”
“Do you HAVE to perch yourself like that?!” I protested.
“Yes,” replied Batman. I rolled my eyes and waved it off.
“Please yourself,” I grumbled. We sat there for a while.
“…The Feudal Nerd Society is hiding something from you new guys,” remarked Batman.
“How they hid Vortech’s identity as the enemy back in your first adventure with them and Megumi had an emotional collapse when she realized her mistake?” I quizzed. The fact that Batman looked stunned told me that was what he was talking about. “Joshua and Emily told me about the vote to keep that incident secret. I heard Megumi voted no since she didn’t want a repeat.”
“They told you?” asked Batman. “I thought the consensus was they WOULDN’T tell you.”
“It was stinging their conscience,” I explained, repeating what they told me. “I don’t know who else they told yet. They told me this about a week ago.”
“I was half expecting this to be awkward,” mused Batman as he surveyed the area.
“In this instance, that would disrupt the board on our side,” I replied.
“…The board?” asked Batman. I winced when I realized my error.
“I have a tendency to think of everything as a chess game,” I answered. “It’s caused some conflict with my friends over in Korea.”
“I see,” replied Batman.
“That’s why I was so nervous to lead,” I continued. “Whenever I DO lead, it always turns into a chess game.”
“Maybe that’s not a bad thing,” countered Batman, “just as long as you remember who’s who on the board.” That was a bit strange but I started to understand where he was coming from.
“Annexation can begin,” I relayed to the Communications Officer once the console was up and running the next day. “Repeat, annexation can begin.”
“Leader, I must repeat my objection to the transmission of incorrect data,” urged the Cyber-Deputy. “Our force does not yet hold the Source.”
“You are outside your function,” I reproached.
“Initial transmission received,” called the Communications Officer.
“Repeat once more, then relay the response,” I ordered. The Communications Officer was in the initial stages of carrying out my orders before an alarm sounded. “Report!” I ordered.
“Interference,” replied the Communications Officer. “Transmission and reception affected.”
“From what source?” I requested. “Provide more information.” The Communications Officer checked.
“The source is a completely unknown form of sound,” he finally reported.
“Open the monitor facility,” I ordered. The sound then played throughout the base.
“Fighting evil by moonlight,
Winning love by daylight,
Never running from a real fight,”
“She is the one named Sailor Moon!” continued the theme song.
“Mom had an anime about her adventures?” repeated Usagi.
“Two of them,” I answered. “Both of them were dubbed into English. Although one was more flawed than the other. I mean, in the anime that came out in the 90’s, Uranus and Neptune were cousins instead of lovers.”
“COUSINS?!” protested Uranus.
“The idea of gay lovers was still far-fetched back then,” I went on. “I don’t mind telling you, as someone with a girlfriend, I’m not too thrilled about that either.”
“I’m straight and I’m not terribly thrilled,” remarked Joshua.
“Well, the Cybermen should be thoroughly confused,” I declared. “Good thinking, Mercury.”
“That’s the disadvantage of a machine mind,” replied Sailor Mercury, “they’re single-minded.”
“It’s gone into a loop,” reported Batman.
“Perfect,” I answered. “Let’s go.” We headed off to search for the Source. We searched the west side of the castle to no avail.
“Anyone found it yet?” asked Batman.
“That’s gonna be a no on that one,” I sighed.
“The Cybermen have already broken through the first iteration and are starting the second one,” reported Lexicon.
“Earlier than anticipated,” I gulped.
“Sweet dreams are made of this.
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world and the seven seas.
Everybody’s looking for something.”
The jamming was now in a second loop. The Communications Officer turned to report. “The fleet is still not receiving our transmissions, Leader,” he answered.
“Is there ANY pattern to the jamming?” I asked.
“It is meaningless,” the Communications Officer replied.
“West side’s not giving up anything,” sighed Lacey.
“East’s no better,” replied Sailor Mars.
“I’m getting nothing from the…” Joshua trailed off.
“Joshua?!” I yelped. “Joshua, report!”
“The Source has been located in the north!” cheered Joshua. “I repeat, the Source is in the north!”
“Excellent move!” I praised. “We’ve castled the king! Stay put! We’re on our way! The Cybermen can now deal with the audio-based pawns at their leisure!”
“Kako no ishi wa Uso de wa azamuke nai (Lies cannot fool the will of the past.)
Kanjiro sō Nexus Future (Feel it in your bones! The Nexus Future!)
Now, Over “Quartzer”
Mabayui sekai (That dazzling world…)
Misete (Enchant me)” The jamming was now in a third loop. The Communications Officer worked fast to try and undo the jamming. His fingers were moving quickly across the console. Without the communications console, we could not contact the fleet or our forces searching the city. Just then, the noise stopped. The Cyberiad was finally at an acceptable collective processing speed. “Transmission channels are clear again,” reported the Communications Officer.
“Excellent,” I replied. “Resume search for…”
“Leader,” interrupted the Cyber-Deputy, “the Vortex Riders and Sailor Senshi are on a direct course for a warehouse near the Tarlaxian scout ship’s position in the north. The Cyber-Slammers have abandoned their post, thus allowing them passage.” I could feel the Cyber-Slammers trying to explain themselves through the Cyberiad, a fruitless endeavor.
“Betrayal,” I declared. “Delete them.” The Communications Officer transmitted a code which activated the explosive payloads within the Cyber-Slammers.
“What was that?!” yelped Sailor Venus.
“I think the Cybermen didn’t like how their Cyber-Slammers fared against us and ‘deleted’ them,” I guessed.
“…I REALLY don’t like them!” snarled Sailor Mars.
“Nothing about the Cybermen is likeable,” answered Lukas, recalling his first encounter with them.
“There’s the warehouse!” called Tonje. We entered the warehouse and found the Source in a crate.
“That’s the one!” confirmed Lacey as she held it.
“Surrender it to us,” called a voice. We turned to see Cyber-Leader Gi with a group of Cybermen standing in the doorway.
“SCATTER!” I shouted. We took off in various directions, causing the Cybermen to pursue us. Cyber-Leader Gi went after me. In the words of the Cybermen, excellent.