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 [Story] Unexpected Awakening

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Sailor Uranus
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PostSubject: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   23rd March 2012, 11:25 am

Spoiler:
 
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Wind danced across the street acting as the master of its cherry-blossom marionettes, which swirled and flowed elegantly from the tree to the verdant green grass below, skittering across the paved sidewalks and taking flight yet again, pressed upward at the side of the other building.

Someone behind her cleared their throat.

The wind was almost like a teacher, then – it knew what it wanted the blossoms to do, and it directed them towards that end. All they needed to do was go with its flow and they would be successful; but where was their spirit? Were they content to mindlessly obey?

“Ahem.”

Maybe she was looking too far into it; they weren’t exactly sentient. …but they were a really great simile – metaphor? Yeah, metaphor – for her current situation. Hers and her guardians’, anyway. If she behaved the way her teachers and tutors and trainers wanted her to, she, too, could be successful, but wouldn’t that just make her a cookie-cutter person? Smiling when it was expected, saying what they needed–

“Princess,” her instructor’s feminine voice growled and Bunny jumped at the nearness of the sound.

Quickly, the young girl with silver hair turned, but the length of her pigtails and the quickness of the turn knocked the paper and pencils off the desk of the person behind her. “Sorry!” she exclaimed, whipping back around and attempting to reach over the desk bar to grab the abused articles. Unable to get anywhere near, she hopped up to kneel on the seat to get a better angle. Stretching as much as she could only made it so the very tip of her middle finger glanced the nearest pencil.

“Princess!” the instructor gasped, mortified, and Bunny winced, remembering only now that she was wearing her summer skirt today. Gritting her teeth she prepared to continue as if she still hadn’t realized, but a friendly squeeze of her outstretched hand opened her eyes to see a familiar face wink up at her from a crouched position on the window-side of her seat. Carestia, smiling brightly, gathered the spilled materials and nodded her head towards the teacher, an indication that she had the mess and that Bunny should get back to dealing with the teacher.

Setting her mouth into a forced smile, Bunny turned back around in her seat and looked up at the stern woman, “Yes?”

:

“It’s alright, Bunny!” Carestia said in soothing tones, placing a hand comfortingly on her shoulder.

“Yeah, it wasn’t that bad,” Biera snorted, turning her purple-haired head away to laugh into Tunis. The two snickered and Bunny pouted.

The road back to the Crystal Palace was alive with the smells of late spring, small shops opening with goods from Earth and from the life-bearing planets of allied systems, their populace meshing almost indiscriminately with the humans they visited, but for small features – cat ears, antlers, and  wolf-tails, for example. The street was set up for the Solstice festival, and already street performers were practicing their arts: from fire juggling, street magic and acrobatics to shape-shifting, feats of strength and mermaid-dances in large tanks, her populace was enjoying themselves already. This cheered Bunny up marginally, until she saw two cheeky boys from her class in amongst the crowd, standing facing her with idiotic expressions, acting like they were pulling up their imaginary skirts. She blushed beet-red.

“Jerks!” Zita screamed and dashed into the crowd after them, her long black hair disappearing quickly in the throng of astonished onlookers.

“Zita,” Carestia sighed, her fingers at her temples, “Biera, go bring her back; the Queen wouldn’t be happy if another complaint was raised against her.”

“Sure thing, boss,” Biera quipped and dashed off, to the delight and further confusion of the crowd; it wasn’t every day (well, maybe not for this particular group, Bunny mentally amended) that two senshi broke off of the Princess’s detail to chase middle-school boys. For her it was nearly every day. The other kids in her class just didn’t like her that much – she didn’t pay as much attention to lessons and they thought it was because she had a defined future career and so didn’t need to worry, like she was above them all, while really the teacher was just super boring and she was in various lessons practically all hours of the day and had other things on her mind.

Like her legacy. What would be her mark on the Solar System and the Crystal Millennium?

As they approached the crystalline castle, doors appeared to admit them, sensing the Silver Millennium blood in her veins and the sailor crystals in Carestia and Tunis’s hearts. The long hallway appeared before them, flanked on all sides with hued marble statues of the senshi who had lived their lives for the protection of peace on Earth. First and foremost, in this important entrance hall, were the original eight guardians: Sailors Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter on the left, Sailors Neptune, Uranus, Pluto and Saturn on the right, Pluto’s likeness engraved here even though she lived on at the Gates of Time. Beyond them were the Sailor Quartet, Ceres and Juno on the left, Vesta and Pallas on the right; this covered nearly the first 2000 years of the Crystal Millennium, but the quartet-style of protection continued on after that. Every Queen awakened four senshi from the Asteroid Belt to serve as her daughter’s protectors; it had to be that way, for once a Senshi died and her crystal returned to the Galaxy Cauldron, it took thousands of years for the crystal to regrow and return to its planet, where it would then rest for nearly a millennia as it retuned itself to its guardian star before selecting a shell – a fetus – to serve as the future Sailor Senshi of the planet.

As of yet, the Sailor Quartet’s seeds had not returned to their asteroids, so it took more than 2000 years for the regrowth stage in the Cauldron. Their crystals would be the first to return, as the planetary Sailor Crystals would never be reborn again.

At the far end of the hall stood her ancestors, the first family of the Crystal Millennium: Neo-Queen Serenity the first, King Endymion, and Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity. She smiled faintly as they turned left towards the elevator that would take them to her quarters; everyone said she bore remarkable resemblance to Neo-Queen Serenity, and she enjoyed the comparison. Neo-Queen Serenity was beautiful, strong, and resilient, and had always been her role-model. She had saved the world multiple times, and had even saved the entire Galaxy once, and it was her crystal that created this Kingdom and brought peace to Earth, unifying the planet. Her crystal allowed her direct female descendants to control it, for better or worse, and on the summer solstice of the Princess’s fourteenth year, it was used to awaken the inner appearance of the Princess and declare them as next Queen.

She wasn’t too nervous about tomorrow’s ceremony itself; the ‘awakening’ part would encase her in light and reveal her ruling regalia – the dress that she would wear as Princess in official ceremonies from that point forward and as Queen when she took the throne, along with her unique crown. From the solstice on she would be able to transform into her Princess regalia whenever she wished; and in that form she could actually control the crystal to grant miracles. Her mother, Queen Serenity the Fifth, told her that it didn’t hurt at all – the crystal’s energy felt more like a warm embrace than anything. No, she wasn’t nervous about tomorrow’s ceremony – she was nervous about her acceptance in the court afterwards. Would her mother’s advisors accept her, clumsy and stray-minded as she was?

They reached her chambers and she only had a few minutes to change from her school uniform to an appropriate dress for further etiquette lessons. As she stood tall for Carestia to lace up the back of her gown, all she could think about was how handy that transformation thing was going to be.

:

It was time. After a day of festivities, performances and shows, it was finally time to be recognized by the Legendary Silver Crystal as its next bearer. She knelt on the second star of the dais, her four guardians kneeling on either side of her, down another stair. Her mother’s guardians stood watch over the gathered crowd for any sign of discontent, and her mother, the beautiful ruby-haired Queen Serenity the Fifth, stood at the top of the dais, her arms outstretched, palms up, with the Silver Crystal floating and shining inches off of her skin. In her melodious voice she told the story of the Ginzuishou, starting in the Silver Millennium, its use to send the heartbreak of the past into the future for a second chance, its awakening within a young, fourteen year old girl, Usagi, who was Princess Serenity in new form. She told of its use in the many defeats of evil, controlled by Sailor Moon and her pure heart to vanquish the Negaverse, the Black Moon Clan, Pharaoh 90, the Dead Moon Circus, and finally Galaxia. She told of how it was used to bring peace to Earth, and how it created the fair Crystal Tokyo through the love and hope of Usagi, Sailor Moon, Princess Serenity, and how she took the mantle of Neo-Queen Serenity  to bring the peaceful era of the Silver Millennium into her time.

She told of the peaceful reign of the Queen, the birth of her daughter, the accomplishments made during her lifetime. She then told of the crystal’s strengthening: when it was time for them to pass on to the Galaxy Cauldron, the planetary senshi of the Solar system and King Endymion pledged their Crystals to further the peace and tranquility of the era and to reinforce the goodness inherent in the Silver Crystal. Their own sailor crystals, the star seeds of the eight planets and the primary dwarf planet, rose from their bodies and, in a rainbow of colors, fused into the Silver Crystal, creating the Rainbow Silver Crystal of today. Then, as one, the heroes of Earth passed on: Neo-Queen Serenity, King Endymion, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Saturn, Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Pluto; leaving the planet in the capable hands of Queen Lady Serenity, who, at her death, did the same.

She finished with the triumphs of each of her remaining ancestors, the furthered communication and alliances made by Queen Lady Serenity, the technological leaps and culture sharing by Queen Serenity the Third, the many accomplishments of Queen Serenity the Fourth; she stopped there, not mentioning her own vast achievements. Instead, “Today, I, Queen Serenity the Fifth, present to the Legendary Silver Crystal my daughter, Princess Bunny Serenity, that it might recognize her as the Future Queen of Earth.”

This was her cue. She stood and held out her hands and the crystal floated to just above her grasp. Its light intensified, flowing over her in a wave of reassuring warmth. She felt feelings she herself had yet to experience – intense love, deep longing, hurt, pain, reassurance, the strength of deathless friendship, joy, and, finally, an abiding hope that seemed to overcome her. Tears rolled down her cheeks; each feeling was accompanied by memories, reminiscences that were not hers, and yet were so familiar that they had to be.
Love – she remembered his face, his deep blue eyes and dark black hair, his smile that brought butterflies to her stomach, his touch that reassured her, calmed her, and gave her strength, his kiss that made the world fall away; he had many appearances, one as a Prince, one as a tuxedoed hero, one as tall man in familiar lavender attire, and one as a normal citizen, yet the love towards him never varied.
Deep longing – she remembered missing him, needing him, she was on the Moon, she knew, looking at a screen with his face; then on Earth, crying into a pillow in her bedroom; in the timestream, staring off at the dark beyond, and finally, staring at an empty mailbox.
Hurt – his death, her suicide; his being captured, her feeling like her soul had been ripped from her; she remembered many people, senshi that Bunny recognized from statues in the hall, being stolen from her, watching them die before her own eyes and being unable to do anything; then having to fight them to save the universe;
Pain – torture, lighting, bleeding, tearing. Her whole body bruised and battered.
Reassurance – a friendly hand on her shoulder, hugs from those familiar strangers, support from that man, a black cat, everyone telling her that they believed in her, that they lived for her, she was their hope.
Deathless friendship – Long golden hair, blue eyes, forever smiling even through tears: Minako. Short blonde hair, hard blue eyes that softened at seeing her, a smile that sung of lessened loneliness: Haruka; holding her hand, medium-length aquamarine hair, steady green eyes and a delicate smile: Michiru. Short blue hair, smiling and reaching out for her, blue eyes shining with unshed tears: Ami. Short pin-straight black hair and strong, yet timid silver-purple eyes: Hotaru. Long brown hair, tied up in a ponytail, green eyes and a true smile: Makoto. Long purple-black hair with matching eyes, a smile struggling through a cascade of tears: Rei. Finally, shorter than the rest and yet just as tall, a girl with pale skin, soft pink hair and bright red eyes: Chibi-Usa.
Joy – Reuniting with the prince, reuniting with four of her friends after a terrible battle, saving a young girl from her death; Awakening in a light and shining place after a terrible burden was lifted from her shoulders as her friends surrounded her.
Abiding Hope – Knowing that universe would be safe so long as there were senshi to protect it.

When the light faded, Bunny opened her eyes and stared up at her mother, wondering why she had lied. This transformation wasn’t painless! She knew those faces; they belonged to the planetary senshi, to her fore-father, King Endymion! How could she have said that this was painless, when she saw their lives, felt their love, only to know now that they were dead? What cruel game was this?! Did the Rainbow Silver Crystal carry within it the soul of Neo-Queen Serenity that it might share her life, her love and burdens, with all of her descendants that they might remember for the rest of their lives where they came from?

But the look on her mother’s face was not one of shared pain – the regal woman looked confused and awe-struck, taking steps backward. Had something gone wrong? Why was her mother backing away? She turned to Carestia, only to find her kneeling towards her, her hand crossing her heart. Tunis was the same way; she turned around to face the crowd only to find a sea of bowed heads. She was confused – they don’t need to bow or kneel to her! She reached out as if to stop them, only to have a long staff appear in her outstretched hand; it was taller than she, made seemingly out of glass. At the top was a pink-tinted orb, lined with pearls at the bottom that sprouted wings, crowned with another orb that encased a silver six-pointed star. What was this? Her hands – both of them – wore pearl rings on every finger.

She looked down at herself and saw the fuku of a senshi, like none she had seen before. Glass high heels with more pearls and feathers; a short white dress, rather than a leotard and skirt like her guardian senshi wore, and where her guardian’s fuku’s skirt came in at a ‘v’, her fuku was knighted with a circle surrounding a golden six-pointed star, trailing two long white ribbons, pearled and winged and identical to the brooch in the center of her chest. Her collar was white with three golden stripes, her shoulder guards were golden with more pearls and feathers; she felt a choker, a beaded tiara, clips in her hair, but what made her pause was the decoration on her skirt.

Under the winged and circled golden star was the front fold of her skirt, decorated with the colors of a rainbow, each color representative of one original senshi. Clockwise, there was the icy blue of Mercury, the royal blue of Uranus, the teal of Neptune, green of Jupiter, yellow of Venus, red of Mars, pink of Earth, purple of Saturn, and garnet of Pluto. This transformation – the Rainbow Silver Crystal?! She looked around hurriedly, but the crystal had disappeared within her, like it had within Usagi… within herself, in another life.

Arms embraced her from behind, folding the long cape of her fuku into her body as familiar hands held her. “It’s alright, Bunny,” her mother said, then stepped around to stand before her. In her mother’s eyes she saw herself – the white collar with golden star, the tiara with a golden star, the pearls and feathers in her silver hair, the pearl decoration surrounded by gold that fronted her playful heart-shaped buns… and her silver eyes, streaming with tears. Her mother’s hands cupped her face as she leaned in to kiss her cheek, “You’re alright.”


Spoiler:
 

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Sailor Uranus
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   27th March 2012, 12:50 pm

The world was silent around her mother’s soft words; whenever she glanced to either side of her concerned face she could see the crowd staring at her now from their kneeling positions, just so many eyes shining in the dark of twilight, making her anxious and slightly afraid. Her mother would call softly and she would look back at those soft comforting eyes, but she couldn’t help looking back into the crowd of strange yet familiar faces. She felt surrounded, suffocated; under all gazes she felt pinned in place like a butterfly on display. What did they want?! What could they possibly want from her?! She was Bunny! She was only fourteen! She was just crowned their Princess, accepted as their future Queen, and while she knew she should be used to the attention of audiences, now she felt trapped and alone – why were they staring so intently?! Panic inched its way into her chest; under their constant stare she felt like she couldn’t breathe.

“Bunny,” her mother called softly again, but she couldn’t look away. There were so many people – too many people! Humans and Mauans, Luparians and Coronids, Mermadians and Staggarosians, all staring at her, waiting for her to do something. What?! What did they want her to do?! What did they expect of her?! She was trembling, shaking like a leaf, breathing as quickly as she could and yet feeling like she was suffocating all the same. She wanted to leave; she had to get away! Far away from those eyes, those round and shining lights bearing down on her!

Energy coalesced all around her. In a sudden burst she saw stray feathers fly forward as she felt extra appendages stretch out behind her. Wings. Their eyes grew, staring at her openly from kneeling positions on the ground, not even pretending to bow anymore. Hungrily they stared at her and she felt herself shaking even more, breathing even faster, her heart hammering in her chest. She had never fought anything before! They would overpower her in seconds! She had to get away! She heard her mother saying something, but the woman’s voice was nothing but a low hum, nothing that could tear her attention away from the terrifying mob massing before her. She had to get away! She had to get away!! Her wings started pumping behind her, aiding her in her escape. Her mother’s voice was firmer, her cool hands on Bunny’s face trying to catch her attention or keep her in place; she reached up with one hand to push her mother’s cool hands away, and found that she had to strength to do so easily.

“Bunny, no!”

Disengaged, blood roaring in her ears and her eyes focused on nothing but the terrifying crowd and the unquenchable thirst in their eyes, she clenched her strange staff and bent her knees to jump, to gain some air and fly far away from here. She would get away – she wasn’t going to die here! She started her spring, pushing upwards and away, but was stopped. Strong arms held her in place, catching her at the waist as she began to fly away and holding her at arms’ length. Their eyes were still on her, but so too now were another set, these a familiar green belonging to the pair of arms that held her in place.

“Bunny!”

DADDY!” she cried, dropping her staff as her wings propelled her towards him; she wrapped her arms around his neck and squeezed her eyes shut, closing out the crowd as she used to close out her childhood nightmares, and he caught her and held her tight, just as he used to, despite her age and size. With her eyes still squeezed shut, her whole body shaking as if incredibly cold and his cloak growing soggy as it soaked up her tears, she felt him turn and walk away quickly.

As the blood pounding in her ears began to lessen, she started to understand the voices around her. Farther away, speaking calmly back at the ceremony, Sailor Ennomos, leader of her mother’s senshi, was addressing the murmuring crowd. A cool hand touched her arm softly – immediately she knew her mother walked with them, but only a young man spoke amongst them. The voice was familiar, belonging to her Godfather. She wondered at him being outside of the gardens of Elysion, but his presence was like cool water on her heated mind. Soon enough, she heard several pairs of soft footsteps running to catch up with them.

“… the stress of awakening,” she heard Helios saying, but stopped paying attention. She didn’t want to know; she just wanted to stay here, with her father, until the nightmare was over. She hugged him tighter; he squeezed her comfortingly in return.

:

They all sat on her bed with her, her mother on her right, her father on her left, surrounding her with support as Helios, sitting on one of the fluffy pink overstuffed footstools and looking very out of place away from the greenery of his gardens, told them what he knew about what had happened, and what he remembered about whom she could be. That Bunny was a reincarnated form of Neo-Queen Serenity was now almost certain. The memories and feelings she described as the Rainbow Silver Moon Crystal blessed her and its disappearance inside of her had never happened before, and her transformation through the use of the crystal made Helios believe that it was not just the crystal reaching out to remind her of where she came from, but unlocking who she was, or rather, who she had been.

“Your mind is still your own,” he explained calmly, smiling comfortingly, “You are still Bunny, your memories of this life belong to you. These other memories belong to your past life; don’t shut them out, Bunny, but remember who you are. Use your past life to give you strength, as Sailor Moon used her past as Princess Serenity to give her greater control over the crystal. Her wisdom can be yours if you choose it to be, but it is your choice.”

“Helios?” she asked quietly, “What was I? Who was I? If I really am Neo-Queen Serenity incarnated, wouldn’t I have appeared as Eternal Sailor Moon instead of an entirely different senshi?” In her mind she thought she might know the answer, but hearing what Helios had to say would make her feel better about it.

“As to who you are, I believe I might have that answer, courtesy of senshi that lived nearly 3000 years ago, but first… I believe you did not awaken as Eternal Sailor Moon because your crystal is inherently different from hers, augmented through the blessings of the nine planets. There is not just one Sailor Crystal within yours, but ten. On that note,” he broke his friendly gaze from her and instead trained it on her parents, “We should discuss her training, as I’m not entirely sure our current senshi tuitions would serve to suit her.”

Her parents nodded, but Bunny wasn’t quite sure what he meant; their training schedule was arduous and tricky, if a little dangerous at times. Was that the reason? Were they going to try to come up with something less dangerous for her because she was the princess? She was about to object when Helios continued:

“But who you are...” Helios looked at her thoughtfully, as if the transformation were still in place. It had faded away when she calmed down and finally stopped crying – she had been so worked up that her physician suggested muscle relaxant, but her parents refused. Now, snuggled between the two of them, she wore the princess dress that she had been so looking forward to. It was in an old style, a simple cut that was both flowing and light, but its simplicity in form was balanced by its incredible material. Silver like her hair when she wasn’t moving, framed with light strands of gold, when she moved it shimmering in nearly every color of the rainbow. She adored it, and it made her feel at home in her own skin, something she craved after the disaster earlier.

“Years and years ago, during the reign of Neo-Queen Serenity, a disaster of epic proportions struck as a result of unforeseen dangers in the past. Fearing for the lives of her friends in the twentieth century, Sailor Chibi Moon and her senshi, the Sailor Quartet, traversed the time corridors to aid their fellow senshi in what they would soon discover was the fight against Chaos incarnate: Sailor Galaxia. Fearing it was too late, they nevertheless were able to join Sailor Moon in her fight at the Galaxy Cauldron.”

Darkness, confusion, heartache; pain and hurt, throwing attack after attack at her friends and watching them die and reform, controlled by the Safir crystal and under orders of Galaxia. Bunny shuddered; her mother was quick to give her hand a squeeze.

“After the battle ended, the future senshi were returned to their home in the future, which had returned to its normal, peaceful state, but not long after I was visited by the Sailor Quartet. Sailor Ceres told me of a mysterious senshi they met at the Cauldron who called herself Sailor Cosmos. When Sailor Ceres asked if she was the true form of Sailor Moon, she denied the claim in such a way that it made Ceres doubtful. Through her description of that senshi, I believe she is you, Bunny. Through the blessings of the planetary senshi and the power of their crystals, you have transformed to become Sailor Cosmos.”

:

Not long after her parents and godfather left, as she lay tucked under the covers with the lights out, Carestia, Tunis, Zita and Biera snuck into her room through a side door and surrounded her on her king-size bed. She struggled to sit up amongst the hugs, finally laughing for the first time that night as she pushed Carestia away for the fourth time. “I’m okay! I promise!” she assured, though the teal-haired senshi remained as worried as ever. Even Biera looked worried, if slightly curious.

“You looked pretty terrible back there; are you sure you don’t want some warm milk or something?” Tunis offered, her brown eyes skeptical.

Bunny shook her head, “No, thanks.”

“You sure? You were shaking like a leaf.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“And hyperventilating.”

“No thanks.”

“And crying like there was no tomorrow and you just realized you wasted your last day on homework.”

“Tunis!” Bunny laughed, the others joining in short order; however, hearing her description back there made her a little uneasy – did she really look that out of it? “Was I really that bad?” she asked quietly.

“I’m gonna get you that milk,” the blonde with the pixie-cut hairstyle announced, and Tunis was off, walking away confidently in the dark.

Zita answered in her low voice, “You were – the way you were shaking and crying and panicking made us think that there were enemies. I got up right away, but there was nothing out there; but the way you weren’t responding to your mother…”

“Were you in a memory?” Biera asked suddenly, “One of Sailor Moon’s memories from a past battle?”

“I…” she started, but was more than a little ashamed to have to admit what had really happened. A glass of warm milk was thrust into her hand and she looked up at Tunis thankfully, and took a sip. “No,” she said at last, “It wasn’t as cool as that. I panicked and my mind started playing tricks on me.”

“Helios said that something like that had happened,” Carestia said helpfully, placing a hand on Bunny’s shoulder. “As soon as you transformed, the King disappeared into the Palace and came back out with Helios a short time later. When your dad went to get you, Helios was standing beside me so I heard him talking about it when he and your parents went back inside. When we caught back up with you he said something about undue stress.”

Biera smirked, “He said that when Usagi awoke as Princess Serenity she passed out, so you have that over her, right?”

The thought was strange – competing against her past self? How did that work, exactly?

“Do you really remember everything from her life?” Biera continued eagerly. This was a switch from Biera’s usual slightly-mocking attitude she had towards Bunny in the past. Part of her didn’t want to say anything for that, but she had known Biera since they were little, and she knew how much she looked up to the Planetary senshi, so she couldn’t entertain the idea of keeping information from her for long.

“Not exactly everything,” Bunny offered, “More like bits and pieces – important events, like meeting Sailor Pluto for the first time, and then random stuff, like hanging out and reading comics in a temple with Rei and Minako and Makoto and Ami.”

“Who?” Tunis asked curiously.

“Those were their names – the Planetary Guardian senshi names. Rei was Mars, Minako Venus, Makoto Jupiter and Ami was Mercury. Looking into the memories is like trying to remember stuff from when we were really little, like five years old. You don’t remember everything… just random stuff,” she finished rather lamely.

“Rei, Minako, Makoto, Ami…” Biera repeated, thinking, “What about the other girls? What were their names?”

With each name came a face as a feeling of peace, happiness, and love swept through her, as if the nostalgia really was her own, “There was Haruka and Michiru, Sailors Uranus and Neptune, and—“

“Were they really in love?” Biera interrupted curiously, swiping deep blue hair out of her face.

She couldn’t help but smile, “Yes! Very much – they would’ve died for each other…” she trailed off.

“What about Saturn and Pluto?” Tunis prompted.

“Saturn’s name was Hotaru, and Pluto was Setsuna, but Setsuna wasn’t around all that often. Hotaru and Chibi-Usa were best friends –“

“Chibi-Usa?” Biera repeated.

Bunny laughed, covering her mouth, and took up a mock stern voice, “’Princess Usagi Small Lady Serenity.’ We called her ‘Chibi-Usa’ because she refused to go by any name other than Usagi and there was already one Usagi! She hated the name at first, but after Mamoru called her by it she seemed fine with the nickname.”

Carestia caught it, and by the look in Zita’s eyes, she had too; she had used ‘we’, as if she had been there personally. She gripped the comforter, her mind threatening to run away with her again. She was Bunny, not Usagi. Usagi is part of her, but not all of her; she wasn’t going to disappear. She was Bunny.

“Mamoru was King Endymion, wasn’t he?” Tunis asked slowly, her words treading softly, guessing the connection and knowing of its potential as an agent of hysteria. Their love – her love? – was an epic that was retold even in their time. She nodded in affirmation, steeling herself against any memories that might sneak their way through to make her cry again. Not that she thought she could cry anymore. Even still, despite her best efforts, a hole was becoming apparent within her chest when his deep blue eyes were recalled.

“Hey!” Carestia called suddenly, “Remember that time a few years ago when Biera fell off the elephant at the zoo?”

“What?! Why do you have to bring that up all of a sudden?!” Biera demanded heatedly.

“Yeah!” Tunis exclaimed, clearly on Carestia’s side, “She was standing on its back and crying ‘Look at me! Look at me! I’m Sailor Vesta!’”

“And the elephant keeper was jumping around yelling ‘Little girl! Little girl! Stop that! Sit down!’” Carestia mimicked enthusiastically.

Zita stood as if to act out the scene, “But Biera stood on one foot, ‘No! I am Sailor Vesta, the beast trainer! This elephant will – Aaaah!’” Zita fell to the ground in a heap.

They all laughed, Bunny remembering clearly. “If Ennomos hadn’t jumped at just the right second, you would’ve landed in—

“ELEPHANT POO!” the four girls said as one, laughing hysterically as Biera crossed her arms over her chest and glared at them. Laughing felt amazing to Bunny, draining away her stress and confusion and doubt, leaving her feeling more like herself.

When their laughter started to die down, Biera, suddenly producing a fluffy pillow, turned on Tunis, “I can’t help that my childhood imagination was so much cooler than yours! What about you, Tunis, and your fascination with that magician?!” she threw the pillow with such force that it knocked the blonde backwards off the bed with a cry of dismay.

Tunis reappeared in seconds, “He was cute!” she defended, throwing the pillow back across the bed, but while she had aimed for her blue-haired taunter, she hit Carestia by mistake, knocking her over in surprise.

“And more than three times older than you were!” Biera shot back with a smile, sticking her tongue out saucily, “I guess we’re similar as I’m three times better at aiming than you are!”

Carestia used the pillow to knock Biera over the head just before Tunis grabbed another pillow and hit her dead-on; a pillow fight of elephantine proportions ensued. By the end of the night, all five girls were sleeping together on the bed, feathers coating the floor and sticking in their hair, each smiling.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   27th March 2012, 6:56 pm

(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ Please contact me (or comment here, on tumblr, or on ffnet) if you like this story! I'd like fans of this to help me with different names for different main characters~

For example: I gave the first four tumblr-followers the ability to name Queen Serenity the Fifth's guardian senshi (who will appear in greater detail in the next chapter!) (◡‿◡✿) I'd like to continue the trend and give you guys some powers over the story!

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   27th March 2012, 6:58 pm

I adore this fic as you know! You should name a character after me xD

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   29th March 2012, 1:30 pm

Apparently the meetings last night has lasted longer than Bunny had thought, for when she and the girls arrived in her parents’ parlor, both looked exhausted. Heavy dark circles colored their faces and her mother’s blue eyes were shot through with red, but Helios was nowhere to be seen. They must have reached some sort of decision early this morning, she decided, pausing hesitantly on the other side of the coffee table. Her father stood, his blonde hair out of place, and opened his arms to receive a hug. Bunny walked quickly around the low-lying table and complied, wondering as she was enfolded in his soft embrace just who was hugging whom. Her father seemed in need of support; she stayed put with her arms around him until he sighed and let her go.

“Bunny,” he said, his voice tired, “You have to go into training for your newly acquired powers.”

Was he afraid for her? Should she be afraid for herself? She glanced towards Tunis, Carestia, Zita and Biera, standing at attention in the doorway. She had sat in on a few of their training sessions – they didn’t seem so bad. They always ended up panting and exhausted, but they always had fun; she wasn’t in as great a shape as they were, but she wasn’t that bad. And they’d probably lay off the fire courses and such at first… right?

“No, Bunny,” her mother interrupted, her voice raw and rough. Bunny’s eyes shot back to give her mother a closer look – she looked so incredibly worn out, almost deflated, sitting on the couch without her usual poise, and yet she still knew, as she usually did, what Bunny was thinking despite her tired countenance. She admired her mother for many reasons, but her strength was almost chief among them. “You won’t be training with Carestia and the others.”

“Oh,” she answered, dropping her gaze. During their practices she had always wondered what it would be like to go through sessions with them, to bounce around the field like an acrobat, protecting their backs as they guarded hers; but maybe there was still hope. She looked back at her parents, eyes turning from mother to father and back again, “When I get stronger, could I join them? I’ll work really hard –“

“It’s not like that, Bunny,” her father said with a sad smile, effectively silencing her.

“But, then why can’t I train with them?” It was starting to sound unfair, this training they had rigged up for her.

Her parents looked at each other for a long moment, something passing between them in their secret mom-and-dad language, a means of communicating that Carestia thought was entirely romantic, while she had always thought was a great way of keeping her out of the loop. Watching them now, though, gave her a feeling of familiarity and the smallest sensation of loss; she wondered for a moment, but her mother answered her and she dropped that train of thought altogether. “You’re too strong.”

“Too strong? What do you mean?” she asked instantly, burying the inkling of fear that the point-blank statement brought about. “I just transformed yesterday –“

“Through a crystal that contains the powers of eleven planetary sailor crystals while simultaneously awakening within yourself the knowledge and experience necessary to use them,” her mother finished with a half-smile, “I’m afraid we discussed it in great detail.”

Eleven sailor crystals… she hadn’t really considered… but wouldn’t that give her enough power to destroy something? What if she couldn’t control it?! If the Silver Moon Crystal could destroy the Earth and Sun easily, then what could the Rainbow Silver Moon Crystal do?! How could so much power be entrusted to one person?! Her breathing quickened as she thought of what that could mean. She had seen a dead planet before – what was that in? History? Court matters? Would that happen to Earth if she—

Her hands were clasped by cool, confident fingers, and her eyes followed those arms to her mother, kneeling on the floor in front of her. Calmly, smoothly though her voice was rough with exertion, her mother said, “Remember what I told you when you were little? The crystal follows the heart of the user. You have a good heart, Bunny; nothing bad will happen.”

Her mother knew – she always knew. She dropped to her knees, too, and hugged her, still afraid of what all this meant. She felt the tears squeezing out between her closed eyes, but that seemed to be her natural reaction lately. “You’re alright,” her mother whispered, one hand circling around her back, the other pressing comfortingly on the back of her head between her heart-shaped buns. She sat like this for a good while, practically in her mother’s lap, crying silent tears of uncertainty until her tears wore themselves out.

She pulled away, sitting back on her feet as she wiped at her cheeks with her palms. “If I’m not training with Carestia, Zita, Biera and Tunis, who am I training with?”

“Don’t worry, Baby-Bunny,” a pleasant, familiar voice said from the doorway, using a nick-name as old as she was. Bunny looked over her shoulder at the two women standing in the secondary entrance, posing dramatically in their own styles. She couldn’t help but smile. “You won’t be alone; Aemilia and I are taking care of you.”

“And what are you four doing?! Who said you could lounge?!” Aemilia exclaimed, planting her gloved hands on her hips as she glared towards the main door. Bunny whipped her head around to see her guardians hastily jumping their feet, Zita hauling Tunis up as the blonde looked around with some confusion, apparently having fallen asleep.

“Sorry Sailor Aemilia, ma’am!” Carestia breathed quickly, saluting hastily to show respect. The salute of the senshi was really neat, Bunny thought, as she had never had to do it before. Their right hand crossed their chest with palm facing outward, parallel with the wall. It looked really linear and drastic and—

Aemilia and Sandrine laughed, Aemilia leaning on her partner’s chianti-pink shoulder as she exclaimed, “I was just kidding! Chill out, kittens!” She waved at them, a sign that they should relax, and approached them to speak privately as Sandrine approached the royal family.

Bunny stood by herself as her father helped her mother up, smiling unabashedly. She had always liked Sandrine; she was funny and bright, and very affectionate. If she couldn’t train with her friends, she was glad she got to train, at least for one day, with her. In greeting, the brunette ruffled Bunny’s bangs, then said, more to her parents, “We’re ready to go at any time.”

“Go where?” Bunny asked.

“The Asteroid Belt,” the green-eyed senshi grinned, “Ready to go into space?”

:

True to her word, less than an hour later Bunny sat in a starship, the compartment empty but for herself, Sailor Sandrine, and Sailor Aemilia. Aemilia was away from them, speaking quietly with the pilot as they prepared for takeoff, but over the top of the empty seats Bunny could still see her dark-haired head and the braid that draped over her purple-ish collar. Since the time of the original solar senshi and Quartet, the asteroid senshi had always had less-than-primary colors; Sailor Aemilia’s skirt, collar and accessory color was a gray-purple that had been identified as ‘antique pewter’, while her bows were dark steel grey – overall her colors were reminiscent of a thunderstorm. Sandrine was more like a flower; her primary color was a rich yet light pink, ‘chianti’, while her bows were a faint yellow color. Her own senshi had dark jeweled tones, and they were all of the original style.

Well, all but hers, anyway.

She hadn’t transformed yet; they suggested she wait until they get out to the station. It hadn’t taken her too long to pack, especially since she would be training primarily in her senshi fuku and could transform into her new princess gown at will; mainly her little bag consisted of her pajamas, toiletries, and pictures. What had taken the longest was saying goodbye to everyone. She’d be in training for close to a month straight, and it would be the longest she had ever spent away from home, her parents, and her senshi. She was going to miss them, but Sandrine assured her that they could exchange video messages to keep in touch and that a month wasn’t as long as it sounded, especially when you’re training.

Bunny nearly jumped out of her seat as the engines roared even louder around them, starting the final phase before launch. It would be her second time in space, but while being out there was fun and exciting and weightless, she absolutely hated getting there! Everything was so loud and shakey and stuff happened when you didn’t expect it to and it could blow up at any minute!! She tightened her seat straps and closed her eyes tightly, gripping the armrests as she waited for the ship to start moving. Or blow up and kill her already. … but hopefully the first!

A gloved finger poked her arm, disturbing her concentration, “Hey,” Sandrine asked conspiratorially, taking the seat beside her. She heard the restraints click into place and didn’t answer, still praying who whoever was out there that this ship wouldn’t be the first in over a thousand years to blow up. “Hey, Bunny,” she repeated in a whisper with another poke. “Bun~ny, have you seen that new fairy-tale show?”

Fairy-tale show? Sandrine watched TV?! And her new favorite program to boot?! Her eyes were open instantly, looking up at the taller woman in the seat beside her with mixed awe and extreme interest, “Yes!”

“What do you think about…”

The rest of the launch went by in a blur as she and her new tutor poured over the mysteries and possibilities surrounding the new show, discussing the characters as if they were real and the situations as though they had actually happened. They made guesses and suppositions that only time would prove to be true or not, but in the meantime they wove a more complete telling of that new world. In no time at all, it seemed, they were weightless, only the straps keeping them in place, and only a short while after that Aemilia turned around as best she could from the seats in front of them, only half of her face and the white streak of hair at her right temple showing between the cracks as she told her to look out the window.

They were passing the moon. Bunny’s head cleared almost instantly, her pulse slowing as she looked at the white surface with mixed feelings. Awe, first and foremost; always awe. But then feelings of happiness and nostalgia as she remembered her first trip into space when they visited her grandmother at the Moon Kingdom; she had died shortly after her tenth birthday, but Queen Serenity the fourth had always been happy and spontaneous and filled with weird facts about everything, and had told that her death wasn’t something to be mourned, but celebrated, that she had led a very happy and productive life and had earned a good long rest. She remembered playing out in the lower gravity, visiting the holy place and – meeting her mother, Queen Serenity, and speaking to her about the Silver Millennium, learning of her past and the monstrous threat they faced in Queen Beryl. Fear, resolve, loss, love, sadness, peace. Resilience. Those memories, with Luna and Artemis, with Minako, Ami, Rei and Makoto, those weren’t hers. And yet they were. As was the flash of color – of gardens similar and yet different from those her Grandmother had walked though, of fountains and ballroom dresses, and a screen that showed his face, with big beautiful Earth in the background. ‘Those memories were from over five thousand years ago,’ she marveled as she stared at the surface, imagining that she could see far enough to make out the Kingdom, ‘and yet they’re as vivid as though I had made them yesterday.

As the moon moved out of their field of view, Aemilia started the conversation back up again, this time about a popular book series. Sandrine had read it, but Bunny hadn’t – it was a book, and she had just about enough of books without reading them for pleasure – so she insisted they tell her the story in its entirety, assuring them that she had no intention of reading it any time soon. That started an epic tale whose telling lasted nearly two hours, with many embellishments and questions. From there, conversation turned to stories of what her mother was like growing up, a topic Bunny particularly enjoyed as it hinted that her mother wasn’t superhuman. It turned out that, while she enjoyed her studies more, she had been incredibly clumsy and terrifyingly bad at baking, despite all of her attempts at making stuff for them to eat.

As they made their approach on the Asteroid Belt, Bunny’s spirits were incredibly high, but she was itching to move. “So what do we do first?” she asked enthusiastically.

“Well, we dock,” Aemilia said in all seriousness. Everyone was quiet for a moment. As the statement sunk in, Bunny exploded:

“WELL I KNOW THAT!”

The two laughed. “We’ll get settled in to our quarters and head to dinner, then we’ll see what you’ve got to work with,” Aemilia amended, turning around to smile at her between the seats.

“So I’ll be transforming again tonight?” she asked, just to be sure.

“Yep,” Sandrine supplied, then looked over at her with a sly and suspicious expression, “But no flying away, got that? I don’t want to have to chase you.”

She shook her head ‘no,’ wondering if she’d be as panicked this time around as she was the first. Though she was afraid she’d lose herself again, she was nonetheless determined to take control this time. ‘It was probably the surprise and the shock,’ the told herself as she stared out the window at the debris field beyond them, ‘I’ll know what’s coming, this time. That won’t happen again, ’ even so, as she remembered those shining eyes she couldn’t help but shudder. The restraints pressed against her as the ship slowed and stopped, and, suddenly, gravity returned. It felt strange after all that time, like the disorientation from stepping out of an elevator but magnified. For a second she thought she would be sick, but the moment passed; while her face was probably green, her breakfast was still with her. ‘Ug… breakfast.’ Maybe she wasn’t as recovered as she would have liked to think.

A young man opened the door to their compartment, walking confidently forward. He didn’t seem much older than she was – maybe sixteen – but his expression and body language could have belonged to an adult, and an adult in power, at that. He was tall hair of mixed lengths – most of it was cut on the longer side of short, but one hunk of hair at his left temple, braided intricately and tied with elastics and beads, reached his shoulders, easily. He wore a deep green jumpsuit with three stripes on the shoulder and a badge on the breast pocket, its emblem hard to read from this distance. “Senshi,” he addressed with a nod, “Princess,” he breathed offering a shallow bow, though his blue eyes stayed on her. “Welcome to Niven. My name is Linden; please allow me to show you to your quarters.”
Aemilia and Sandrine unbuckled and stood, flawlessly, and stepped out into the isle with grace and dignity and… well everything Bunny had trouble with. Her buckle was stuck, she was sure of it. No matter how hard she pressed or in which direction, it didn’t budge, didn’t release the restraint. She felt like an idiot, starting to blush for being so inefficient with Niven watching; he was really cute and mature and she probably looked like a total dork. She was about to give up and ask for help when Niven stepped forward, “May I help you, Princess?”

“No need, thanks Linden,” Aemilia supplied as Bunny wondered – if he was Linden, where did she get the name ‘Niven’ from?

Sandrine reached over the seat and unbuckled the seat in one fluid motion, winking as she offered a hand to help her stand. Bunny took her hand gratefully and was pulled out of the seating isle before she had a chance to trip on the restraints and embarrass herself again. Once in the isle they filed out of the compartment, though the door of the ship and down a set of stairs, around a corner, and into a hallway that seemed to sloped upwards at either end.

“It’s right this way; you’re rooms are in the teachers’ and commanders’ wing,” Linden detailed, “You’ll have a suite with private bathrooms, of course, but they do request you join them for dinner tonight.”

“We would love to,” Sandrine answered as they walked down the hallway. It was so odd – she never felt like she was going uphill, though she could plainly see a gradual slope on the floor. She wondered if it had something to do with artificial gravity, then, while Aemilia and Sandrine were asking something of Linden, she surreptitiously tried to test to see if the gravity was any weaker here than on Earth or the Moon by skipping. Just once, just as a test. Nothing. And to make matters worse, Linden looked back at her with a quirked eyebrow – she had been caught. ‘And this is why I don’t like experimenting,’ she grumbled silently, setting her mouth in an annoyed pout.


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   29th March 2012, 2:24 pm

Yay! You updated!

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   29th March 2012, 7:27 pm

^__^ thanks for getting excited about it!! ♥

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   3rd April 2012, 5:56 pm

“Princess Serenity,” Linden addressed, dropping back to walk beside her, using her formal title, “how do you like our ship?” He added in a whisper, “Don’t worry about the buckle thing – no one can undo it on their first try.”

She smiled; the boys in her class would’ve teased her to within an inch of her life with something like that, but it looked like Linden was just going to let it go. Why couldn’t she have had classmates like him? “It’s weird,” she blurted out happily. He stopped dead in his tracks as if frozen, shock registering on his face. She winced – she was mucking things up already – and stopped with him, smiling awkwardly. “I mean the floors are weird – I mean nothing’s weird, just different! In a good way,” she finished lamely.

Shaking his head minutely, he then started laughing, “I suppose it is weird, isn’t it?” they started walking again, “It’s curved because this ship is built like a wheel that turns about a central axis; this spinning creates centripetal acceleration, which acts like gravity and pushes our feet to the outer edge.” He paused, she looked at him blankly; he continued, “Er… think of swinging a bucket in a circle over your head. Have you ever done that?” she nodded, “We’re like the water in the bucket, pushed up against the bottom of the bucket even when we’re being swung around in a circle.”

She looked at him blankly, and smiled apologetically, “I don’t quite get the bucket thing – could you go back to the tire?” They had stopped outside of a door, continuing the conversation as the senshi went inside. Aemilia’s blue eyes glanced back at them quizzically, but was quickly pulled out of the doorway by white gloves trimmed in pink.

“Right,” he said, taking a deep breath, “Okay, so we’re inside the rubber of a bicycle tire. The axis of the tire starts to spin, and because of the centripetal acceleration of the spin, we’re pushed up against the rubber of the tire. We’ve gotten the spin just right – the acceleration is as strong as the acceleration due to Earth’s gravity now, so we can actually walk on the rubber of the tire.”

“But then wouldn’t the walls curve inward instead of the floor?” she asked, still attempting to understand, fully realizing that she was only trying so hard because he was cute and was really trying.

“No, you see, our bodies are aligned like the spokes on the bicycle tire. The axis,” he pointed directly upward, “is that way.”

She thought about it – the curve of the floor, the spokes, and the axis being up, not to the side, and concluded: “So we’re walking on our sides?! ” Disorientation hit her like a wave, suddenly getting the urge to grip the wall for support. But which wall?! What if she ended up grabbing the ceiling? Or what if the tire were spinning up and down, like someone were riding the bicycle? What if she were completely upside down right now?!

He laughed, “Princess, you’re fine,” he said, putting her hands to either side of her shoulders without touching her; the effect was somewhat steadying. “Up is still up, down is still down – everything is how you perceive it to be! Listen to your instincts and open your mind; tell yourself that your feet point down and your mind will catch up. When you were on Earth you didn’t feel like you were spinning on your side, right?”

She was calming down, “No…”

“And Crystal Tokyo isn’t exactly on the North or South pole, is it?”

“No…”

“So you could say you’ve been walking on your side your entire life, couldn’t you?” She thought about it, starting to understand, “Or upside down; it’s all about perspective. The centripetal acceleration on Niven is like gravity back on Earth.” He chuckled, “I suppose I could have just left it at that. I just really like thinking about perspectives; once I get going it’s kinda hard to stop,” his cheeks turned the faintest shade of pink and Bunny’s heart melted – he was blushing! How cute!

“It’s okay! It was interesting,” she assured him with her best smile.

He smiled, fully recovered, “Just wait ‘til you do a spacewalk. Anyway, so these are your rooms.”

Their quarters were rather sparse and a little on the militaristic side, but Bunny didn’t really mind; Sailor Sandrine whispered at one point on the way to dinner that she’d find a TV for them, which put a smile on her face as she whispered something back about their show. The dining hall was crowded with people, all wearing the jumpsuit uniform that Linden wore but with mild differences, such as number of stripes and shades of green. Most looked to be around her age or older, with a handful of girls in amongst the boys; everyone was chatting happily for a moment, but when they caught sight of her they all stood as one and bowed crisply. They were silent.

“Uh,” she froze, “Hi?”

“Thank them,” Sandrine said out of the corner of her mouth, still managing to look formidable and graceful beside her.

“Oh! Um,” Bunny cleared her throat, “Thank you! “ No one moved; she continued lamely, “…. For having me… It’s an honor to be here with you.” She bobbed in respect, mentally congratulating herself for saving the speech from another lame ending – she really needed to work on public speaking. They all stood straight again, still at attention.

“Princess Serenity will be staying with us for one month,” Linden announced, then started walking again as the crowd returned to their conversations, sitting back down to finish their meal. His explanation was crisp and to the point – she preferred that style to the flowery one her speech writer used; maybe she could convince her to switch tactics…

He led them into a separate room to the side and directed them to a table. She glanced around at the empty seats and decided that they must be in the teachers’ meal-room; part of her wanted to sit in the room with everyone else... but this was probably for the best, right? In seconds trays were placed in front of them filled with nutritious food – no dessert in sight, unfortunately – but even the vegetables were starting to smell good. Her stomach rumbled. She reached for her fork and speared a baby carrot when suddenly the door burst open to emit a crowd of noisy, cheering, and talkative boys! She jumped in surprise and her fork clattered onto her plate – she swore she heard Sandrine giggle, but she couldn’t be certain against the backdrop of new voices.

She froze like her namesake as the troop crowded in and fell silent, all eleven eyes on her. One thought crossed her mind: ‘I am so glad I’m not chewing anything.

Sailor Aemilia and Sailor Sandrine stood and walked around the table to shake hands with two of the older gentlemen; while they were all dressed alike, there were clearly two groups: teenagers, and middle-agers. The older men must be teachers, then, but what were the teenagers doing here?

“Sailor Aemilia,” one of them addressed, shaking her hand.

“Sailor Sandrine,” the other did the same. “I hope the trip wasn’t too strenuous?” he paused, “Princess Serenity,” he bowed, “Welcome to Niven. My name is Tyrone.”

“I’m Byren,” the other addressed, “And these are our fellow teachers,” the other four older gentlemen half-bowed, “and top students;” the boys did the same. ‘Top Students’ she mused as she looked at the five of them, noticing Linden also bowing slightly off to the side. That might explain it… maybe the top scoring students got to eat with the teachers? Maybe the teachers got something especially good at dessert or something… Byren continued, his steel-gray eyes glowing with the hint of a smile, “they’ll be assisting with protection detail during our young Princess’s training.”

“What?” a brunet student asked, looking at Byren as if he hadn’t heard correctly.

This was the ‘super important mission’ you were talking about?” one of the taller boys growled skeptically, as if he were annoyed at the prospect. “Can I unvolunteer?” Bunny pouted but wasn’t able to respond before someone else was speaking. It wasn’t her fault that he had volunteered for something blindly! What a jerk!

“We get to protect the Princess?!” another brown-haired boy was exclaiming, turning to her with a grin, “That’s great!” His smile was infectious; she couldn’t help but join him, despite the stupid jerk in the room. If no one else, maybe she and this guy and Linden could be friends!

“That explains those maneuvers you had us going through…” the other tall boy mused, crossing his arms as his deep blue eyes looked her over. She felt like she was being measured and sat a little taller, almost used to such scrutiny after years of royal introductions but still not liking it very much.

The remaining boy didn’t say a word, but didn’t look unhappy at the apparently unexpected announcement.

One of the teachers called them to attention and immediately the students straightened, their eyes focused on some point behind her and higher than her head. It was a cool trick… and she wondered if she could make them do it... She imagined herself standing tall with a military uniform on and a commander’s stick in her hand and barking “Attention!” and having all five of them snap to attention. … and then she ran behind the stupid jerk yelling ‘One-two one-two one-two!’ as he raced to keep in front of her… she chuckled under her breath, still daydreaming, ‘Drop and give me five hundred!’ she ordered, and he obeyed, “Yes, Bunny, it is an honor to serve!”

“Bunny, you’re such a wonderful commander,” Linden complimented, “I’d follow you into battle anywhere…”

‘Thank you, Linden,’ she blushed, ‘But taking care of insubordinates like him is nothing, really…’

“Oh, no, Princess,” Linden replied, his blue-green eyes, “it’s really quite impressive; I’m sure you’ll be an excellent leader for us…”


Her elbow was jostled and she started, suddenly finding herself back in reality with Sandrine sitting beside her again and Linden in line for food with the Jerk. The teachers had already sat down around them, speaking amongst each other – what had she missed? Guiltily she looked over to Sandrine, waiting for some reproach for checking out, but the senshi just smiled and pointedly took up her fork. Bunny did the same, taking a small bite out of the carrot with unexpectedly mixed reactions.

“You didn’t miss much,” Sandrine commented, “Just an explanation of their abilities and honors.”

She didn’t dislike it, but at the same time she hated the taste. She forced herself to swallow as she held the remainder of the carrot in front of her face, staring at it.

“They’re all extremely intelligent and gifted flyers; top scorers on every test,” Sandrine continued.

It was orange. All carrots were orange. It smelled... like carrots smell. Maybe she had just imaged it. She took a nibble from the other side and nearly had to spit it back out. Trying not to breathe, or gag, she moved the small piece to the back of her tongue and swallowed this one, too, her mouth in a grimace. Since when had carrots been so… gross?

“And they all breathe fire, every last one of them.”

Bunny turned to Sandrine, offering her the speared half-eaten carrot, “Does this taste weird to you?”

Sandrine rolled her eyes, “And here I didn’t think you were listening to me.” She reached over with her own fork and took a carrot off of her plate; however, before it reached her lips, Aemilia appeared behind them.

“You food tastes weird?” she repeated quietly, her voice barely making it to the two of them, speaking seriously though the smile on her lips. “What kind of ‘weird’?”

“I don’t know,” Bunny replied, “Just funny. And Gross.”

“How do you feel now?” Aemilia asked, “Weak? Is your stomach burning? Feeling sleepy?”

“You think she’s been--?” Sandrine ate the carrot without another word, concentrating on the taste.

A shiver ran down Bunny’s spine as she stared in horror at the bit of vegetable on her fork. Poisoned. Who would poison her?! Why would they poison-- THE JERK! She looked across the dining room as the tall boy filled his tray, speaking cheerfully to the other students. He must have – but how? Did it matter? She was going to die!! She was going to die out on this weird bicycle tire floating in space!

“Bunny, I need you to concentrate,” Aemilia coaxed, sitting down beside her and using her thumb and forefinger to turn Bunny’s face so it looked only at her. “Now how do you feel?”

“I… I don’t know,” Bunny replied.

“Sleepy?”

Bunny relaxed and blinked, “No.”

“Stomach ache?”

“No…”

“Any burning?”

Bunny shook her head. Aemilia let her go, seemingly lost in thought.

“It tastes normal to me,” Sandrine reported, then took the fragment of carrot right off of Bunny’s fork and tried it. “This one too; just tastes like a –“ A smile crept over her, “A carrot. Say, Aemilia, remember that file we read before leaving?”

“Yeah…” Aemilia replied, the two of them still speaking quietly.

“What was Neo-Queen Serenity’s least favorite food?” Sandrine looked at Bunny now, grinning.

“Ah,” Aemilia chuckled, ruffling Bunny’s bangs before standing up again to join the teachers, “You had me worried there for a minute, little miss!”

She didn’t understand, but had the feeling that she wasn’t poisoned anymore. When Sandrine didn’t offer any explanation, instead switching their plates so Bunny had peas now instead of carrots, Bunny asked bluntly, “So what just happened?”

She nodded for her to start eating, and Bunny obliged. “Before leaving, Aemilia and I briefed ourselves on little-known characteristics of Neo-Queen Serenity, just in case something from her life leaked into yours; a few things you two had in common already, but one of the differences was her least favorite food: Carrots. She hated carrots.”

“But I didn’t hate carrots,” Bunny objected, swallowing a mouthful of meatloaf.

“Your taste buds wouldn’t be identical, so that wasn’t exactly unexpected. However, now that your memories have come back to you, your past experiences with carrots are mingling with your present experience; it’s like having someone standing behind you whispering to you about how awful they taste and being very convincing about it. Long story short, you have a new food on your ‘dislike’ list.” She laughed and started eating.

:

The meal went by pretty quickly after that. Bunny wondered now and again about what else would change, and how she felt about it. On one hand, she felt like she should feel violated – someone other than herself changed how she felt about something, like they were messing around in her head; on the other hand… that ‘someone’ kinda was herself… so was there really anything wrong? By the time her plate had emptied, she hadn’t entirely decided either way. Things would sort themselves out, eventually right?

Just as she placed her fork neatly beside her plate, her tray was lifted and taken away, “I got this, Princess!” the enthusiastic brunet from earlier declared, bending over her shoulder with his brown eyes inches away from hers. “Welcome to Niven!” he cheerfully greeted as he walked away. She smiled at Sandrine, who looked back with a teasing expression and moved to take her own tray, only to have another crash on top of it. “Sorry about that, senshi!” the brunet had returned, smiling apologetically as he whisked both their trays away this time.

Sandrine laughed, “Very nice.” They stood together, and suddenly the rest of the room was on their feet, too, the students saluting. She wondered if it was for her and blushed, but was proven wrong as the teachers starting filing out of the room. Once the last of them exited, the students all relaxed again, speaking rather loudly to each other. As Bunny pushed her chair in she couldn’t help but eavesdrop... not that anything cool came of it. They were talking about some sort of speed trial. She sighed and followed Sandrine, joining Aemilia near the door. The two of them spoke together about the teachers as she zoned out.

‘No dessert. Surely they have ovens, and stoves, and ingredients – why not make little cakes? Just one little cake. Just one.’ Her mouth fell open with a sudden realization: it was June 22nd. Her birthday was in eight days, but she would be staying up here for a month. ‘A birthday without cake?! Without dad and mom and Zita and Caresta and Tunis and Biera?’ she closed her mouth and pouted, feeling a little down about the whole day, ‘I hate carrots. I’m stuck up in this bicycle tire in space surrounded by military genius boys. I’m remembering things I didn’t do and trying to control powers I haven’t earned. And there’s no cake. And I’ll turn 15 without my dad singing the birthday song and my mom popping party-crackers and my name written in pink icing…’

The senshi started walking and she turned to follow, wallowing in a moment of self-pity as she stared at the long bows of her guardians.

“Hey, Princess!” the cheerful boy from before called. She turned and returned his smile – it was nearly impossible not to, he seemed so perfectly happy. He waved, “Have a good night! We’ll see you bright and early for training!”

“Except for that whole ‘bright’ part,” the previously-quiet boy said with a hint of sarcasm.

“Right,” the brunet corrected himself, “No sunlight.” He smiled again, “It’ll be early, in any case!”

She giggled, her shoulders shaking as her hands reflexively covered her mouth. “I’ll see you early then. But wait! What are your names?”

“I’m Kansas,” the cheerful brunet introduced. “You know Linden, and that’s Gil,” he thumbed the sarcastic silent one; Gil had short blonde hair a shade lighter than Linden’s, with green eyes. Of them all, he was the shortest (though he was easily taller than she).
“The guy with the glasses is Tetsuya,” that was the smart guy who had looked her over – then again, they were all supposed to be smart. Tetsuya was one of the tall ones, with black hair and blue eyes; while he was sitting at a table and talking with some of the other guys, he was still watching her.
“Beside him is Faxon, but I think that’s his last name. His real name is… well I don’t really know his real name. And I think Gil is using his last name instead of his first, not that it matters,” Faxon had dark brown hair that was almost black and was talking animatedly with the guy across from him…
“And the other guy with black hair,” the Jerk! “is Brendan.”

She nodded and smiled, her eyes burning a hole in the back of Brendan’s head, “Thanks Kansas!” she redirected, “You can call me Bunny if you’d like.”

He put his hand to the back of his head nervously, “Gee, thanks, Princess!”

“Goodnight!” she wished with a bob of her head, then turned to catch up with Sandrine and Aemilia. They weren’t too far ahead, and the three of them continued together to their quarters to retire for the night. Aemilia gave her instructions for an exercise to increase her concentration, and told her to practice. Sandrine winked and handed her a novel as she ‘escorted’ her to her bedroom. But really, once Bunny sat down on the bed, she found herself lying down, then lying down under the covers. She was asleep in minutes.


((Who got carried away with centripetal acceleration acting as gravity? This girl. I hope you guys learned something about orientation in space xD PHYSICS TEACHER OUT!!
Also: Sorry this took so long ^^’))





___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's




Last edited by Sailor Uranus on 7th April 2012, 7:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   5th April 2012, 6:01 pm

“Bunny, let’s get moving!” a chipper voice lilted as lights overhead were flicked on, simultaneously inflicting both Bunny’s ears and eyes with unwanted attention. She winced and brought the covers over her head, subconsciously blocking the intrusion via whatever means available, but those defenses fell easily as a form jumped onto the foot of her bed and started bouncing. “Get up, get up! Get up!” the cheerful voice sang as the covers pulled away.

“Noooooo,” Bunny groaned, covering her exposed ear with her hand, “Go away.”

The bouncing stopped. “Honestly, Bunny, I don’t know how you make it to classes on time! What do they have to do, pull you from the bed?” The form jumped off of her bed, landing soundlessly, and the gloved-figure grabbed her arm and pulled. “Up and at ‘em!” she cried sunnily as Bunny was hauled out of bed. “Oh good! You’re already dressed!” Bunny’s eyes opened sluggishly to reveal Sailor Sandrine, smiling unabashedly as she led her into the main room and tossed her into the bathroom. “Hurry up! We’re probably late~”

Bunny knew where she was – she had woken up at intervals all night from nightmares involving tires and space and her grandmother riding dolphins into battle, so she knew the ceiling of her room rather well by this point; what she didn’t know was the time. She used the facilities, washed her hands and her face, then set to work readjusting her heart-shaped pigtail buns, the eagerness of what lie ahead hitting her in intervals, gradually waking her completely and making her both nervous and incredibly excited. She would be transforming today. By the time she exited the bathroom she didn’t know if she wanted to jump up and down and cheer, or go back in there and throw up. No time to decide, however, as Aemilia took her by the hand and ushered her out the door, Sandrine behind them.

“You’re lucky Sandrine woke you,” Aemilia stated, not unkindly, “I would’ve told you once and then tossed water on you,” she turned and winked, but Bunny felt like she was telling the truth and decided she’d try to wake up earlier tomorrow.

“What time is it?” she asked instead, walking quickly to keep up with the dark-haired senshi.

“Mmm, ‘bout six thirty in the morning Crystal Tokyo time,” Sandrine supplied helpfully.

“Did we want to get up before everyone else or –“ she stopped mid-sentence when up ahead they saw a line of students standing outside a closed door, speaking quietly to each other. Bunny stood straighter and smiled, waving to the students who glanced her way, not saying a word until they passed the last student. “Do they really start classes this early in the morning?” she whispered to Aemilia, marveling.

“It’s an hour later for them,” she replied, “so expect to get up an hour earlier tomorrow.”

Bunny whined, looking down at her feet as she trudged along after them; she had never been great about waking up on time. They entered the nearly-empty mess hall and went straight to the teacher’s room, where they grabbed a nutritious breakfast of vegetable-filled omelets, toast, and juice; she didn’t eat much. There were no sign of teachers or commanders or students – not even Linden – and nothing to take her mind off of her upcoming transformation. When asked if she was ready, she nodded and stood with them.

They went out through the side door everyone else had entered through yesterday, and after a few quick twists and turns she found herself in a narrower hallway from the rest of the ship, very long and actually straight out ahead of them rather than gently curving to the side. Aemilia led the way, turning at a T-branch and pressing a button on the wall that opened an elevator-like door, revealing a huge, empty room beyond that stretched off in every direction – including down. She gulped loudly, ‘Are we really going to jump down there?’

Without warning, Sandrine threw herself into the room and just kept going – floating quickly towards the other wall. “Come on in, Bunny!” she called, stretching her arms out welcomingly as she floated away, “The no-gravity’s fine!” She turned her head sharply to see the far wall approaching, made a quick noise of surprise and wings popped out of her back, curling in such a way that they stopped her movement.

Bunny was amazed. Wings, real wings – feathered, like an Angel’s, and looking completely in place on Sailor Sandrine’s back. She watched how they moved, flapping gracefully and adroitly as the dark-pink senshi maneuvered herself back into the center of the room, where she waited, smiling.

Aemilia put her hand on Bunny’s shoulder and Bunny turned her head to meet the older senshi’s gaze. “Bunny, a senshi’s wings are special. They break many physical laws; they allow us to maneuver in space, where under the rule of physics, we wouldn’t be able to move without another object present to give us momentum; they can also give us incredible intergalactic speed. Ages and ages ago, Eternal Sailor Moon, with Sailor Kinmoku and the Sailor Starlights as her guides, managed to fly to the center of the galaxy in mere days, while it takes light over 27000 years to traverse that same distance.”

A chill traveled down Bunny’s spine as fragmented images of a green, blue and pink cloud suspended in space flashed before her eyes, followed hazily by a garden of stars. “I think…” she started, then shook her head, “I think I can almost remember that…”

“Then you should have no problem with your first lesson, right?”

A hand on her back propelled her forward and before she could have any say in the matter the floor beneath her had vanished. She squeaked in fear, flailing her arms around in circles as her back arched and her mind screamed ‘I’M FALLING! I’M FALLING!!’ as she moved against her will towards Sailor Sandrine in the center of the room. Aemilia appeared beside her, calm and steady with her wings working tranquilly behind her, a teasing smile on her face, “Flailing won’t help you here.”

Bunny scowled at her, and took control of her limbs. Still glaring, she started dogpaddling forward, feeling pretty proud of herself that she remembered that swimming lesson. Aemilia only laughed and pinched the back of her dress. Bunny’s forward movement stopped completely, despite her dogpaddle. “Hey! No fair!” she called, but turned to find Aemilia had already let go. With all of her swimming experience, she was moving nowhere. “I told you, physics dictates that you need another object to create motion. Without our wings, we would be powerless to direct ourselves in space.”

Sandrine flew over and reoriented herself so that she and Bunny had head and feet pointing he same direction, and Bunny got the incredibly strange feeling that she was standing straight, despite the door now being below their feet. “It’s all about perspective, ” Linden had said. She shook her head, and cried out, “Space is confusing!”

Sandrine laughed, “You’ll get used to it. Why don’t you go ahead and transform?”

She nodded, and waited. … Nothing happened.

“Go ahead,” Aemilia coaxed, angled so that she would be standing on her head if the ceiling of the room they were in was still considered ‘up’.

“Right, sure,” she nodded. “… How do I do that?” She didn’t have a transformation stick, like the Asteroid senshi all had; at least, none had appeared to her.

“Oh… good question…” Sandrine commented, a finger to her lips as she thought

“No stick, no compact…” Aemilia mused, her brows furrowed. “Wait. Try to remember back in Usagi’s lifetime; there was a period she was a senshi before the crystal emerged – it would’ve been inside her as it is inside you now. What did she say back then?”

“Good idea!” Sandrine complimented.

“Thanks; I am pretty fantastic,” Aemilia returned with mock grandeur.

Bunny closed her eyes, blocking out their banter as she tried to think back… A black cat in a windowsill, with a bald crescent moon spot…. “It isn’t a bald spot, don’t be so rude!” She smiled …a strange conversation, and a transformation brooch… her heart seemed to catch on fire with the remembered feeling of strength and power. “Moon Prism Power, Make up!” She repeated the phase aloud with her memory-self, but nothing happened. She looked at her hands to be sure, but there were no pearl rings there. “But that’s what she – I – said!”

“Bunny,” Sandrine said quietly, pointing at her chest.

She looked down to see a new compact clipped to the center of the chest of her gown. She carefully unclipped it, staring at the six-pointed golden star encased in a glass disk. A trio of pearls sprouting feathers sat at 30° angles from the bottom; it was beautiful. And it was hers, and hers alone. Usagi, Neo-Queen Serenity, had not used this compact, she was the first. And yet she knew exactly what to say. “Cosmos Crystal Power, Make Up!”

Warmth spread through her as the compact disappeared from her hand and reappeared on her chest. Without looking she knew she had transformed, feeling confident and powerful and loved, like Venus and the others were right there with her, celebrating the achievement. “I did it!” she cheered happily, and the moment she wanted to hug Sandrine was the moment she felt her wings appear, pushing her forward to bump into the other senshi, sending them both off course. Sandrine laughed as Bunny cried out in confusion, trying to tell her wings to stop moving, “No! Wait! Stay put!” but that only seemed to confuse them more – can wings even get confused?!

“Bunny!” Aemilia called in a ‘teacher voice’, “Just calm down! They react with you!” She was beside them but pulled back suddenly. Bunny only wondered why for a moment.

They crashed into the far wall, Sandrine a giggling mess, Bunny still confused and a little embarrassed, but starting to have fun.

:

By lunchtime, she had nearly mastered movement with her wings. It was all about loose concentration – you want to move somewhere, you will yourself to move there, and you try not to think too hard about it. Aemilia was impressed by how quickly she had gotten the hang of it, having expected to spend all day in the practice room, but as they stepped landed back into the gravitized room on the station and willed their wings away, she mused aloud about changing the afternoon’s activities. Bunny smiled to herself, proud to have at least one thing she was naturally good at. She considered powering down for lunch, but since they would be practicing again right after, it would probably be better to just stay transformed, right? She smiled, following after Sandrine and Aemilia, feeling like part of a group. A really amazing group.

They made their way back to the cafeteria, Bunny’s stomach grumbling hungrily as they opened the door to a noisy room. Sandrine and Aemilia went straight for the food line but Bunny froze; somehow the thought that the students and teachers would be there for lunch had escaped her. Chairs scooted back as they rose, facing her, all eyes on her; for a split second she saw the glowing eyes of the audience two night ago, but then the commander bowed sharply and the rest of the room followed. Bunny glanced to Sandrine and Aemilia for help, but they just stood smiling.

“May we introduce,” Aemilia addressed the crowd as they straightened, taking their eyes away from her for a moment, “Sailor Cosmos.”

“Princess Bunny Serenity, crowned Princess of the Solar System,” Sandrine finished with pride in her voice.

Eyes were on her again with mingled “Congratulations” thrown her way. She heard faintly but clearly from the student table, “Oh! I see it now!” “You guys didn’t see it? I thought it was obvious…”

She joined her fellow senshi – how neat was it to think that she was one of them now? – in line for food and glanced at her reflection in the glass. She looked like herself… just without the moon symbol. Curiously she picked the starred golden charm in the center tiara off of her forehead to see if her birthright was still there. At first there was nothing, but gradually it faded into place, right where it had always been. The second she let go of the charm, however, it completely disappeared. Strange. “Why didn’t they recognize me right away?” she asked.

“It’s a glamour put in place by the suit. You appear to them as you appear to yourself, but while they see you as a senshi there’s a mental block in place that prevents them from connecting your senshi self and your civilian self. Well, your royal self, in your case,” Aemilia explained. “It was especially useful back in pre-Crystal-Tokyo times when Sailor Moon and her senshi fought crime and had to hide their identity from the general populace, else risk their family’s safety and forfeit any peace they had left in their lives.”

She nodded in comprehension. It would’ve been rough…

They sat down with their trays at a nearly empty table, Aemilia excusing herself right away to discuss something with one of the head guys. Bunny took a big satisfying bite out of her sandwich. “I didn’t think I was this hungry,” she commented between bites.

“You get used to it,” Sandrine replied, “Just wait until we start practicing those powers of yours; you don’t know the meaning of hungry until then!”

Kansas appeared behind the seat across from her. “Hey Princess! Or Sailor Cosmos, sorry,” he corrected with an embarrassed smile, scratching the back of his head.

“Hi Kansas; Bunny is still fine!” she told him with a friendly smile.

“Right! Oh yeah! Bunny,” he repeated, testing the name, “Bunny, Sailor Sandrine, may I sit with you?” he asked, his brown eyes enthusiastic.

Sandrine returned his smile, “Sure.”

“Great!” he took a seat and crossed his arms, leaning over the surface with an inquisitive smile. “So you’re a senshi! We were wondering why we’d be needed to protect you! I mean, most of us are good with hand-to-hand combat in some form or fashion anyway, but why would you need pilots? Faxon wondered if there was some sort of matchmaking or something going on and you needed an official escort out past the system, but Tetsuya didn’t think that’d be the case since we haven’t exactly passed Uranus yet as a team.”

Bunny’s face was beet-red. “M-matchmaking?” she squeaked, “As in you thought I was betrothed?”

Why did Linden have to choose this moment to join us? She wondered as the blonde took a seat beside Kansas, his eyes attentive on the brunet as he continued his thoughts on the conversation. Linden looked relaxed, but there were no beads in his hair today; just the one long braid tied with unadorned elastic. Did he think she was betrothed, too?

“Yeah,” Kansas said, looking up and away as if lost in thought, “then again, it would be really weird if you think about it. You’re physically only fourteen, right? That’s way too young to marry. … but maybe not too young to meet someone they were thinking about you marrying. What system is he from?” Kansas asked innocently, his brown eyes inquisitive as they focused on her.

“But I’m not engaged!” she quickly answered, glancing once at Linden before back at Kansas, “I only came up here to train to be a senshi!”

“Oh yeah!” Kansas laughed, “Sorry, I got carried away! I’m glad you’re not in an arranged engagement though – ever since studying arranged marriages in history and their impact on women I’ve always appreciated that Princesses have always chosen their husband during the Crystal Millennium. Anyway, so what have you been up to today?”

She was glad to be rid of that topic; while she enjoyed imagining her wedding when with her friends, talking about whom she would marry with anyone but Carestia, Zita, Tunis and Biera felt strange; but it had never really occurred to her what it would be like to have another decide whom she would marry. A thousand years and more with someone somebody else chose for her… that could be a nightmare. “Flying lessons,” she replied, turning her mind elsewhere.

“That’s right,” Linden cut in, “I nearly forgot that senshi had wings.”

“They do?!” Kansas replied, staring over at Linden and back at she and Sandrine. “You do?!”

“And can fly through space,” Linden added coolly.

“Serioulsy?!”

“It’s been a long time since senshi have had missions beyond Earth, hasn’t it?” Linden inquired of Sandrine as Kansas looked like his eyes might bug out of his head at any moment.

“Quite some time; we do still run on forays to meet with senshi from other systems, but that’s once every half-millennium at most,” Sandrine clarified nicely as Aemilia took a seat beside her, apparently finished with speaking to the commander.

“Can you really fly through space on wings?” Kansas asked Bunny in a whisper.

“Yes,” Bunny nodded.

“That is so cool!” he exclaimed, “I’ve always dreamed of flying through space without a ship! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love piloting, but without a ship – that’s just so cool!” Linden stood suddenly, tapping Kansas on the shoulder as he did so. The brunet looked confused for a moment but jumped to his feet, too; glancing around Bunny realized that the teachers must be leaving. “Well, thanks for letting me sit with you! We have to go now, but I’ll see you at dinner!” Kansas smiled and took Bunny’s empty try, stacked it on Sandrine’s, and raced off to turn them in as the other five students filed towards the door. Linden nodded and smiled as he left, and Kansas waved hurriedly as he went to catch up. Bunny waved back with a smile.

It was suddenly very quiet. “Those two are nice,” Sandrine commented, and Bunny nodded in agreement. “What did the commander have to say?” she asked of Aemilia.

The grey-purple senshi finished chewing before responding, “He said he could have them ready to set up a perimeter in minutes; we’re a go.”

“A go to do what?” Bunny asked.

“Well, I thought that you had zero-gravity flight pretty much in order, so we’re going to move on to space flight.”

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   20th April 2012, 5:00 pm

Bunny gulped. She and Sandrine floated in the middle of the zero-gravity room, their wings keeping them in one place. Aemilia had her quickly go through some of the exercises – circling, backwards motion, forwards motion, turns on the spot and the like – but had eventually determined that she passed, and now Aemilia was back in the station, supposedly to open the large door overhead. The door that would lead them into space. No gravity. No air. “You sure we don’t need astronaut helmets or anything?” she asked again.

Sandrine chuckled, “Yes, Bunny, I’m sure we don’t need astronaut helmets.”

Aemilia returned, flying over to them gracefully as the door to the space station closed tightly behind her. She handed each of them a tiny, nearly-spherical soft device with a tubular spoke coming out of it. Sandrine immediately stuck it into her ear but Bunny couldn’t help asking, “What is this?”

“A communication device,” Aemilia explained, showing her how to put it on and explaining further as Bunny set it in place. “No air in space means no sound waves; however the senshi of Kinmoku developed this device to give senshi a way of communicating in the near-vacuum of space. It simultaneously uses breathing patterns and light thought scanning to convey your message via radio waves, which are picked up and translated by our devices. It’s pretty much like a space phone.”

The Kinmoku senshi… she found herself wondering if it was the Three Lights and Kakyuu or their descendants that came up with these. But she’d have to think about that later because the next thing she knew the doors above her were opening. At first the white walls just looked like they had a black stripe painted down the center, but they receded quickly after that, bit-by-bit revealing the vast black of space. Suddenly her hands were grabbed on both sides, and for good reason – they were being sucked out. She screamed. It was as if every part of her were being pulled, like she was being dismembered piece by piece… and then it was over.

She was breathing quickly, staring around trying to make sense of things. They had spun out of the room. There it was, below her, doors still wide open. Aemilia and Sandrine were still with her, and she loosened her grip, smiling at them apologetically when she realized how hard she had been gripping their hands, but she didn’t release them just yet. She looked around. Stars were everywhere… and the sun was right in front of her. Her gaze was inquisitive as she studied the star; it was smaller. Where on Earth the sun was roughly the size of her thumbnail at arm’s length, this was more like… well like her pinky fingernail. And it didn’t hurt to look at. “Why doesn’t—“ she started asking, but Sandrine held up a finger and she and the other senshi tapped their ears.

“Sorry Baby-Bunny! We thought you might scream so we shut them off,” Sandrine smiled, “What were you saying?”

She blushed – she had screamed, and it would’ve been right in their ears, too – but asked her question again, “Why doesn’t it hurt to look at the sun?”

“Don’t look at it directly,” Aemilia instructed and she averted her gaze immediately, “We can look at it, but never for long periods of time. It’s the tiaras that allow this – they’re actually positioned on our forehead for such situations; they’re actually emitting waves that lessen the brightness of close stars to more bearable levels. However, you should never look directly into the sun at any instance as prolonged exposure could still make you go blind.”

She nodded appreciatively, but couldn’t help but glance on either side of the sun until she found it. There, suspended in darkness and shining resiliently, was a pale blue dot with a white speck beside it. Earth. What were Carestia and everyone doing right now? Probably in school… it was so far away. Looking around, the vastness of space nearly overwhelmed her. Nothing; in every direction, there was nothing, just more darkness and stars. She felt incredibly small.

“So, Bunny, what do you think?” Sandrine asked letting go of her hand.

“It’s… huge,” she replied quietly, looking up to see more stars, bright, sometimes fuzzy, all around them. She looked down to see Niven far below them and, just like Linden had said, it looked like a bicycle tire… or a donut… but she could only really see one side. The rest was lost in darkness so complete she might’ve been talked into believing that it was only half of a station, except that it was spinning. Already the tiny white rectangle that was their training room was moving away from the light, becoming a white beacon lost in shadow. Would she be able to find it again? She paused, her mind fixated on the tangent, and let go of her guardian’s hands. Slowly she winged backwards, her hand held up to keep the two of them in place; she had to see something. The farther behind them she went, the less of them she could see, until, finally, they were gone. All that remained of them were faint silhouettes, a hint of color about Sandrine’s head as the light filtered through her hair, a touch of fluffy white haze about their wings. In the right setting, they could be invisible to her.

How easy would it be to get lost out here?

She felt something small strike her leg and she turned quickly – too quickly, as she started spinning almost uncontrollably away, careening back towards the senshi as she caught sight of the sun one moment, and a field of great brown rocks the next.

“Control it!” Aemilia called into her earpiece.

“One wing break!” Sandrine suggested, and Bunny followed her advice, flinging one wing out against the spin to catch herself. Once she managed to stop all movement, the stormy senshi and her flowery counterpart appeared at either side, “Good! See, you’re getting it!” Sandrine smiled encouragingly.

But Bunny only had eyes for the immense field of flowing rocks beyond them. Brown and grey, pock-marked and smooth, small as a pebble, like the one that struck her, and larger than the Crystal Palace itself: the Asteroid Belt. The large masses were rolling, some lazily, others spinning quickly, as they passed at varying speeds, each orbiting the sun as its own entity, each affected by the gravity of the star, the planets surrounding it, and each other. Their course was like a dance of giants; a dangerous one, stretching as far as she could see.

The rest of her afternoon was spent acclimating to the environment of space. The stark emptiness, the confusing alignment – there were no ‘up’ and ‘down’, no ‘left’ or ‘right’, everything was relative to where they were and where they were trying to be. But, after hours upon hours now of nothing but flight, Bunny was starting to get tired and bored. After jumping off of a rather large asteroid to land on her toes upon another, she turned to her guardians and asked in an almost whiney voice, “Am I done with flight lessons yet?”

“Well, I don’t know,” Aemilia returned, “Are you too sore to move?”

She sighed and drooped her head, “No,” she groaned.

Sandrine cheerfully replied, “Then we’re not done!” and flew just above her head.

“But it’s so boring!” she complained looking up to catch hazel-brown eyes as they passed.

“It’s building a foundation,” Sandrine replied, still smiling. “You’ll be glad you did this later!”

“But---AAH!” she screamed as the asteroid she stood on suddenly flew off in another direction, taking her with it. She jumped up, dodged around an incoming rock and managed to backbend around a soccer-ball-sized projectile and managed to wiggle-spin her way back out of the field, only grazed by a couple of orbiting debris. “WHAT HAPPENED?!” she cried, her mind still spinning as goosebumps traveled up and down her spine in fear as her imagination ran away with the possibility of space monsters.

“Aemilia!” Sandrine scolded, her voice transmitting easily though she was nowhere close to her now. Bunny searched through the field until she saw them, but she hesitated, unsure of whether she wanted to return in there.

“Sorry, sorry,” Aemilia laughed, “You did a great job, Bunny!”

Still breathing quickly, Bunny asked in confusion, “What do you mean? What happened?”

“Bunny, she shot a rock into the asteroid you were standing on,” Sandrine explained, “Without warning you. Aemilia, really?”

“Hey, she survived unscathed! Didn’t you, Bunny?”

Pouting, Bunny was about to answer when she saw a streak of bright red out of the corner of her eye. She twitched and immediately looked down to see angry red scratches on her arm, just starting to bleed. She cried out in a wail of pain, not knowing what to do. Could she bleed in space?! Was all the blood going to come shooting out of her body?! SHE WAS GOING TO DIE!

“Bunny! Bunny calm down! What’s wrong?” Sandrine asked as she moved closer, true concern coloring her words, but when she was close enough to see what had happened, she sighed mightily. “It’s just a scratch,” she said, more for Aemilia’s sake than their own. “You’re okay.”

“But we’re in SPACE!” she cried out, “All my blood is going to shoot out of my arm and I’ll look like a giant prune,” she could picture it now! How terrible! “and then I’ll DIE.”

Sandrine laughed, “No you won’t.”

“If your blood was going to shoot out into space, it’s already be gone, Bunnykins,” Aemilia added matter-of-factly, “Now hurry up, let’s go through some more exercises.”

She groaned; now that dying wasn’t on the menu her immediate future was back to boring. “Can’t I try something else?” she asked while she and Sandrine worked their way back through the field, her scratch all but forgotten as they dodged incoming and outgoing asteroids. “Like an attack? You hit a rock with something, can’t I?”

Aemilia snorted, “And what would happen if you accidently struck my asteroid? Or Sandrine’s? Or Zita’s?”

Her face blanched, “What would happen?”

Aemilia laughed, “I don’t know, actually. We’d probably die, or at least our crystals wouldn’t be reborn again.”

“And that’s funny?!”

She shrugged, “Don’t take it so seriously; we wouldn’t be that careless. None of our asteroids are even in this general area of the belt; the closes is Vesta, which is still a good ways off. But when we do get up to attacks, don’t attack anything bigger than a house, okay? Just for good measure.”

Bunny felt uneasy, realizing now that each of the larger rocks around them had a star seed within it, growing and absorbing the power of the asteroid to one day become a sailor crystal. A future guardian for her daughter’s daughters… her hands clasped uncertainly before her, her eyes finding a good sized asteroid and wondering who could be sleeping within it.

“Oh, come on, Bunny, it’s okay…” Aemilia tried again, but her sentence tapered off; it was Sandrine who finished it for her.

The auburn-haired senshi swung in close and floated just before Bunny, drawing the princess’s eyes into her own, “Do you know what the cool thing about the Asteroid Belt is? … It’s constantly growing and changing. These rocks form, break apart, and reform all over again, giving and taking energy away from the whole system to evolve and grow. Look, you see,” she looked around and saw, far above their heads, lit from the left and practically invisible on the right, a car-sized rock. It orbited alongside several other asteroids of various sizes, but as Sandrine continued, Bunny saw what she was trying to illustrate, “See that peach-sized rock beside it? It just crashed right into it – it’s gone. Two became one, and nothing bad happened. And look over there,” she pointed farther to their right, where the asteroids thinned but were practically entirely lit by the sun, “Watch – that one is moving so fast it’s going to collide with the other. See? There.” Sure enough, the two collided; the one that had moved faster continued at a slower pace, while the rock it hit separated completely into two segments. “It was destroyed, but it will reform again. That’s how life is out here – my own Asteroid might have even been to small to grow a sailor crystal back in the times of our ancestors, but through the evolution of the system and the help of gravity, it did! Nothing you, or I, or Aemilia does will disrupt this cycle; Asteroids will always find a way.”

Bunny smiled, feeling a lot better about the situation, but this pause didn’t last long. “Yeah, what she said,” Aemilia shrugged, “Now, back to practice!”

Sandrine bounced away, “Catch me!” she called back, weaving in among and around the rocks.

:

It felt like they had been out there for hours upon hours. Bunny, bone tired and bored with the current training-game of hide-seek-and-chase, floated lazily in the stream of rocks, more on the side of the outer system than the inner. Her wings ached, her arms ached, her legs ached, her back ached and her head ached when she made the mental list of things that ached. She was ready to go inside and get something to eat. Like chicken. Or potatoes. Or even green beans. Anything would taste good right about now, but Aemilia said that she had to do it one last time. She looked towards the inner system and the sun, almost enjoying how the asteroids made things disappear in complete darkness before her. It was almost like being in the woods on a sunny day with leaves dappling the sunlight around… except, when you looked up in the woods you could see through the leaves, and that wasn’t so with the rocks.

Was she procrastinating? Sure. Despite her want of food and rest and that she had to find them both before she could officially engage in either, her body refused to move quickly, and it needed to move quickly if she wanted to catch Sandrine. So she was waiting, hoping in some sort of off-chance that she’d spot one of them so she’d know where to go once she had the energy. … if she had the energy…

‘I wonder what my powers will be like?’ she wondered idly as the shadows of rocks sluggishly made their way across her body. Would they be energy-based and harnessed through objects, like Sailor Moon and Chibi Moon and talismans of the outer senshi? Perhaps that was the staff she had summoned after her first transformation… ‘That’s the most likely choice,’ she mused, ‘but wouldn’t it be neat to just summon an attack right out of thin air? Like Uranus’s World Shaking attack?’ When they were little and she and her friends played make-believe, she would either play as Sailor Moon or Sailor Uranus and now, knowing no one was watching her, she raised her tired hand over her head and made a fist, as if grasping the nonexistent air itself. “World Shaking!” she whispered, and brought her hand down as if throwing the air towards her feet.

But suddenly the make-believe was real.

Her hand was encased in a golden orb of light, but it was too late to stop it now – she had released her grip, and the sphere of pure energy ripped powerfully through space, rocketing away towards the inner system as she was pushed forcefully in the opposite direction. Frantically she tried to gain control of her wings to stop her backwards flight, but they would not respond to her, too tired to move beyond a twitch. Helplessly she careened through the remains of the asteroid belt, miraculously missing the obstacles to emerge unscathed, but the momentary relief at not hitting anything head-first was quashed as she realized that she wasn’t slowing down. The belt was far beyond her now, and the sun was on its opposite side – she was losing sight of everything, seeing only the darker sides of the planetoids until they disappeared altogether.

“Sandrine!” she called frantically, “Sandrine, I lost control! Help!”

There was no answer.

“Aemilia! Aemilia!!” she cried; this time, static hissed in her ear as a response.

Panic was setting in. The sun shrank smaller and smaller, and she could see now the receding forms of the asteroids far enough away to be in crescent and half-light stages. Breathing quickly, she looked around to see if there were anything to help her, anything she could grab hold of, but there was absolutely nothing. Nothing, anywhere. “Sandrine!” she called again, “Aemilia!!” Helpless tears streamed freely down her face as she called their names again and again, but her pleas were met with hissing static, nothing more.

:

Her throat grew sore, her voice tired and cracking; the sun was the size of a bead in the distance. “Mom,” she whispered quietly, wanting nothing more than to be back with her. But she couldn’t even find Earth now, her blue star lost somewhere out there amongst the shining water droplets that followed her flight. “Daddy,” she murmured airily, her voice exhausted at last. Her arms tightened around her body, fighting to keep herself together; she had to try to rest. Earlier in her flight she thought to turn and try another attack to fling her back the way she had come, but no matter what she called out, nothing happened. Her wings still refused to move but for the occasional twitch, and, terrified, she wondered how long it would take to absorb enough power to get them working again.

How long would she be alone?

She didn’t have a chance of being found – it was too big out here. They hadn’t known where she was, and she could have shot off at an angle, so even if they thought they knew she might not be where they thought she’d be. She hugged herself tighter and cried, her eyes tirelessly scanning the space around the sun for just one glance of Earth, one tiny piece of comfort and hope.

She didn’t feel her body slowing, or notice her approach towards a small spaceship. It was only when she was within the stellar vehicle, gravity reengaged and the spacescape before her cut off by automatic doors, that she took a breath and looked around to see a figure clad in a slim-lined space suit. Without thinking, she threw herself at the figure, desperate for the feel of human contact and the reassurance that everything was okay. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her face buried itself in his shoulders as she cried, sobbing gratefully.

His hands hugged her waist, pulling her closer, and they stood together, wrapped in each other’s embrace. She was safe.


___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   17th May 2012, 3:05 pm

When finally he let her go to return to the cockpit, she felt a little embarrassed about what she did, but at the same time she didn’t want to stay away just yet. As he jumped over the barrier and tucked himself into the strange pilot’s seat, she sat beside him, her hand lightly touching his arm, finding comfort in the touch as he flipped switches to put the ship back in gear, maneuvering so that he wouldn’t disturb her hand. She noticed this and appreciated his compassion, grateful for his kindness.

A hiss of air reached her ears and she felt the pressure change around her. As soon as the hissing stopped, her transformation faded away. Seconds later she collapsed into unconsciousness, her hand still on his forearm.

:

When she awoke, she was back in her room on the Niven. She sat up and blinked sleepily. With a yawn she swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood, shaking at first but steadying after just a moment of recalibration. What time it? She walked around the bed and opened the door to the main room and caught a split-second view of Sandrine curled up on the couch, the glow of a screen illuminating her face, but the motion of the door must have alerted her. In seconds, Sandrine jumped up and came over to pull her into a quiet hug that lasted for a full minute. It was warm, welcoming, and peaceful, and Bunny hugged her back gratefully, savoring the feel of other people. When she finally pulled away, the older senshi bent a bit so that they were eye-to-eye, “Are you okay?” she asked genuinely.

Bunny nodded, “Yeah,” she croaked, causing Sandrine to frown a bit in concern and hug her again, but not so long this time

“Here, sit down,” Sandrine instructed, walking her over to their couch, “Would you like some hot chocolate?” she paused for barely a second, “I’ll get you some hot chocolate.” She disappeared, leaving Bunny momentarily alone, smiling faintly, remembering Tunis’s insistence on milk just a few nights ago. … but it seemed as if ages had passed since she last saw her friends. The incident yesterday…

She remembered everything, and she sat on the couch with her hands clasped between her knees, bending over slightly and staring at the floor. She didn’t want to be alone, she realized self-pityingly, but as her eyes threatened tears her heart swelled with a feeling of comfort. She couldn’t help but smile slowly as she felt ghostly and familiar hands hug her from behind, and sensed someone sitting beside her soothingly. Minako, Ami. She wasn’t alone, she would never be alone. They were with her, all of them. Suddenly it was like someone was teasing her and she chuckled to herself, feeling slightly foolish for ever having forgotten them. They were with her – she was filled with them, their presence; she would never be alone, would never be empty. It was okay. She was okay.

Aemilia joined her on the couch, turning on a side-light to illuminate the room. She looked at her with concern, but Bunny reassured her with a smile. Sandrine was back then with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, which the princess took gratefully. A sweet drink! They did have sweets up here! She took a sip as Sandrine sat down and savored the warmth and taste, wondering what other sweets they had tucked away up here. How many packets of hot chocolate mix would it take to make a birthday cake?

“What happened out there?” Aemilia asked quietly, her eyes strong but calm.

“I was tired,” Bunny explained, “I could barely move at all, you know?” she chuckled airily, “and I was only playing, but…” she told them about the attack, which raised eyebrows, then about her efforts to contact them on the radio communicators, and her rescue. They, in turn, told her that when they thought they saw a flash, they believed it to be the reflection off of one of the protection detail’s ships, only realizing something was wrong when their communicators started shooting static with touches of Bunny’s voice intermixed. They searched but were unable to find her; Aemilia returned to the station to contact the detail to start a farther search while Sandrine kept trying to find an area where the radio signal was strongest.

The static-filled signals had lasted for over an hour before there was silence. “We were so frightened for you,” Sandrine said, her eyes sad; she reached out and took Bunny’s hand then. “I was afraid that…” she paused, staring into her eyes as if memorizing her, “But you came back – they found you.”

She blushed at the memory of her savior, the helmeted person who held her until she stopped crying, and moved so gently to not disturb her. Who had it been? Her heart thumped once as she considered the students who she had met – was it one of them? Maybe… Linden? He seemed like the person who would do that for her. Her cheeks reddened at the thought, thinking of Linden’s blonde hair and blue-green eyes beneath the helmet. But then, Kansas was so nice, it could’ve been him, too. Or maybe it was just one of the teachers… but the person in the suit didn’t have the figure of an older person – he was slim with a touch of muscular tone, like he was still growing; hugging him was nothing like hugging her father, as she expected hugging any other male adult would be like.

Yet, as she remembered and thought about it, the embrace felt so familiar… She turned to the two of them, “Who was it?”

Sandrine shook her head, “I don’t know. When he entered the station carrying you, I was so relieved – we just took you from him and brought you straight here to rest. Oh, dear, how are you feeling?” she interjected as if she had forgotten something, “You should still be resting now…”

Bunny shook her head, “I’m okay,” her voice came out a whisper, despite her attempts to sound normal. She smiled, “Well, except for my voice.” The two of them looked relieved, but she had the distinct feeling that she might be sent back to bed anyway; before they could suggest it, she turned to Aemilia, “Do you know who it was?”

Aemilia looked at her skeptically, as if trying to puzzle something over. Eventually she answered, “Why? What did he do?” her eyes threatening pain if the answer was anything but appropriate.

“Nothing – I mean,” she corrected, trying to clear her throat ineffectually, “he was really nice… I just want to… thank him.” What would she do if she found out who it was?

Aemilia cocked a brow and rolled her eyes. “I’ll go find out for you, if you go back to bed.”

She stood, brushed down her iridescent skirts, and walked to her bedroom door. As she opened it she turned, “What time is it?”

“Nearly morning. We’ll let you sleep in a bit –“ Sandrine supplied, but Bunny stopped her.

“That’s okay; I’ll get up on time,” she smiled, shut the door behind her, and leaned up against the cool wall. Why did she say that? Getting up on time – that didn’t sound fun at all! Why had she said that? She took a deep breath, wondering if she should take it back and sleep in this morning. The bed looked inviting; just standing there seemed to remind her body that it was tired and sore. She reached for the doorknob, hoping they were still in the living room, but as she started to turn it, her mind puzzled through the decision and she froze, her cheeks flushing warmly. If she didn’t get up on time, she wouldn’t get to have breakfast with whoever saved her. She built her lip guiltily, knowing a Princess shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts, but shuffled over to the bed anyway.

Who was he? ’ she wondered, closing her eyes for sleep. Her black-and-red-suited hero hovering in her mind’s eye.

:

“Are you sure you want to wake up?” Sandrine whispered into the darkness, as if not really wanting to wake her.

The princess was already awake, just resting until someone came to get her. At Sandrine’s words she sat up and sprung out of bed, “Yep, I’m sure!” she declared cheerfully, smiling brightly at the skeptical senshi, hiding the wince that jumping so quickly had induced. She tucked into the bathroom. She surveyed her hair with a grimace. Her buns were fluffy and askew, her pigtails tangled and without luster. Sighing, she picked up her hairbrush and set to work, brushing through the pigtails before taking down, reworking, and resetting her heart-shaped buns. She smiled at her reflection when she was finished, then stuck out her tongue, glaring at the bags under her eyes. She washed her face quickly, brushed her teeth, and escaped looking pretty good for someone who felt like they’d been beaten to a pulp.

She joined Sandrine and Aemilia in the living room and paused, considering their uniforms. She hesitated, but Aemilia answered her question before she could consider asking it. “No transformation today, World Shaking,” she directed, using the attack of yesterday like a nickname. It was weird, but not as weird as some nicknames she’d been given before. “Today we’re going to talk theory and history of senshi.”

“Taking a break today will make it easier tomorrow,” Sandrine explained with a smile. Bunny didn’t mind the break, but she tried to look disappointed for not being able to transform.

Her stomach growled and Aemilia motioned to the door with a flourish; she chuckled and stepped into the hallway before them and started walking carefully down the odd slope of the floor, wishing she were barefoot or wearing slippers to better traverse the strange hall. … but that wouldn’t really do, would it? What if her rescuer were really tall? She’d be even shorter without the slight heels. And that reminded her. Biting her lip she slowed to fall into step beside Aemilia and glanced up at the taller woman, deciding to get straight to the question. “So… did you find out who it was?”

“Hmm?” Aemilia hummed, glancing down at her, one hand holding the long black braid over her shoulder. “Who what was?” she asked back, her eyes betraying her game.

“You know who I’m talking about!” Bunny accused, “Who was it? Who saved me?! Were you able to find out?”

“Oh, that,” she shrugged, “Yeah, I found out.”

Bunny’s eyes were locked on hers, praying silently in her mind, ‘Please be Linden, please be Linden, please be Linden’.

“His name’s Kiernan; he’s one of the students.”

Bunny froze mid-step, her mind racing to put a face to the name. It wasn’t Linden, tall, blonde, dreamy Linden with the cute braid… And not Kansas, the helpful brunet with the friendly smile. Who else was there? … Tetsuya, the tall one with glasses – she remembered him because his name was Japanese and she was almost as fluent in Japanese as she was in Earth’s common language. Then there was the sarcastic blonde who teased Kansas the other day at dinner – who was that? Was that Kiernan? She started walking again, noticing both Sandrine and Aemilia looking back at her, but she still puzzled her way through the ranks. There were six of them. Was the blonde – wait, the blonde was Gallon or something. Gellen? No, that wasn’t right. Garron? Was that a name? … What does it matter - he’s not Kiernan! That left the two other guys that hung around Tetsuya. Oh… no… wait… one of those was… She stopped dead in her tracks again. But it couldn’t be – the other guy, what was his name? With the dark brown hair and really light eyes? She racked her mind, trying to fit the name ‘Kiernan’ to the brunet boy, but instead the name Faxon surfaced, a connection made for his light eyes and ‘Faxon’s definition as being something light in color. But… no… that left…

The Jerk.

Tall, black hair, blue eyes – he was handsome, sure, almost as handsome as Linden, but that was only until he opened his mouth! The jerk had saved her?!

Kiernan, the Jerk, had saved her. “Can I unvolunteer? ” her heart dropped.

“Bunny?” Sandrine called, and she started forward in autopilot.

Kiernan. The Jerk. … but the guy yesterday wasn’t a jerk. A jerk would’ve pushed her away, or laughed, but he… he hugged her back. Her cheeks reddened as she remembered the moment again. He was so nice, and understanding. Maybe he wasn’t so bad; maybe he just acted like a jerk or something. She took a deep breath and raised her chin, determined to give him the benefit of the doubt. A jerk wouldn’t’ve let her hug him, let alone hold her in return, so Kiernan couldn’t be a jerk.

… and if he really was, Carestia and the others would hear an edited version of this story.

They entered the cafeteria to a much noisier breakfast than the one she had had yesterday, students eating and talking contentedly despite the early hour. She received several glances, but there was no general quieting like they had two nights ago, but she didn’t pay much attention to them – she was on a mission. She opened the door to the Teacher’s room herself, and immediately scanned the tables until she found him. He sat beside Tetsuya and across from Faxon, facing away from her, his hands animating some sort of pilot story based on his arm movements. Taking a deep breath, she marched forward, glancing at her reflection in the food shields behind Faxon and hoping she didn’t look tired. Faxon’s eyebrow lifted in a silent signal at her approach, but she didn’t even glance at him, fixated on the back of Kiernan’s head.

She paused behind him and wondered if she should just sit down in the empty seat at his side, but she had no real time to consider. He glanced over his shoulder at her, his dark blue eyes resting on hers momentarily, then slowly backed his chair up and stood to face her. Her heart beat faster of its own accord; in her mind’s eye, visions of the student standing in front of her blurred with her red-suited hero of yesterday, reaffirming what Aemilia had said. It was him. They were the same height, build, and… and general feel. It was almost like she knew him already, she thought in wonder, her eyes still focused on his. She took a step forward involuntarily; it felt warm there, beside him, and safe. She smiled at him, and for a moment it looked like he might smile back.

But then his eyebrow raised and his near-smile turned almost sardonic. She didn’t care, though; she had seen it just before the swap – the beginnings of a true, honest smile, and that was almost good enough. “What can I do for you, Princess?” he asked, his face twisted to seem bothered, yet aloof.

“It’s Bunny,” she corrected, crossing her arms and looking away to play along, pretending to be miffed.

“I prefer Princess,” he stated flatly.

It wasn’t so hard to play along anymore. She gasped with indignation – the nerve! She looked back at him in honest surprise tinged with annoyance, her hands slowly falling to her side. She, the crowned Princess of the Solar System, offered he call her by her given name, and he just tosses it back?! She had no response for that! How rude!

“So…?” he said, that infuriating look still on his face.

She growled. “Never mind!” she snapped angrily, then turned on one toe and marched off angrily, her back straight and her hands in fists at her side, fingernails biting into her palm. How could he – how dare he! – just who did he think he was?! Being rude was never acceptable! Just what was his problem anyway?! In a huff she sat down across from Sandrine, crossing her arms furiously and glaring at the silverware beside the plate of breakfast meant for her.

“So, how did it go?” Sandrine asked with an innocent tone.

She didn’t answer, but the longer she sat there and breathed, the more she relaxed. She started thinking clearer, the haze of red and visions of strangling him fading away. He had almost smiled. The corner of her mouth twitched up remembering his face then, the softness of his expression. With a deep breath she sat straight in her chair and met Sandrine’s inquisitive, amused eyes. “He is a class-A jerk,” she stated as a matter of fact, then picked up her fork, speared a piece of fruit, and ate it.

:

She must’ve seemed really mad throughout the meal because Kansas only came over quickly before leaving to say how glad he was that she was okay, and that he’d see her at lunch. She smiled and waved at him as he left, but quickly turned back to Sandrine so she wouldn’t have to look at any of the others leaving, her mouth in a tight, disapproving line. Sandrine chuckled, but waited a moment before speaking.

“They’re gone,” she informed helpfully.

Bunny took a deep breath and let it out slowly, releasing any feelings of distaste or anger. Lunch was hours away, and she was determined, now more than ever, to be so nice to Kiernan he had to drop the Jerk act. She’d see that honest smile of his, even if it cost her every scrap of dignity she possessed to do so.

___________________________



Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's


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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
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Location : NE Texas


PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   17th May 2012, 6:54 pm

Unexpected Development
A Mirror Story

Training had been a breeze, as always, but the few tricks Clayton threw in made it worthwhile. He hit his belt release and pulled himself out of the cockpit, rolling over the side of the cocoon-like structure and landing lightly on his feet. He walked the last few feet and punched the button for the door, exiting his bird at the docks on Niven. He nodded to Clayton, catching a glimpse of the tall figure with shoulder-length blonde hair as he disappeared down the T-branch, and followed. As he turned he was hit from behind, an arm slinging around his neck.

“Nice flying!” Kansas complimented, slinging himself around, landing, and dashing off down the corridor.

He rubbed his neck to relieve the slight burning sensation and shook his head marginally after the brunette, hiding the slight smile on his face. Monkey. Idiot. One hell of a flyer, that was for sure though. As he came even with the next dock he stopped just in time to avoid a collision with Tetsuya, who was conversing with his teacher, lost in whatever technological world they had constructed for themselves. He often wondered if Tetsuya was going to remain in the pilot-training program or if he would splinter off into some sort of research and development department; he had a head for weaponry and tinkering and would probably be right at home in an engineering lab. Tetsuya’s love wasn’t for space flight – he had said at one point that he flew to clear his head, as a method of relaxing; something that was nearly impossible, if he had any opinion on it!

Flying was the best experience he could ever imagine. He always felt free, yet powerful, like he could change the world. His world. … and space was so vast; if you lost your way, if you programmed even one point of the wrong setting, you could be lost for days, surrounded by a darkness so vast that you’d never hope to see your way out of it. The Asteroid Belt was interesting – he liked it much more than training near Mars; here there were small worlds everywhere you turned. At the right part during the year you could see Mars clearly, like a small red marble; Jupiter was even easily distinguished, the Galilean Moons visible, though not easily identified. And Earth… the Earth and moon were just two bright stars on the foreground of the Sun. For a moment he caught himself thinking about his home, about the rolling green fields and gray mountains, about the sky and the clouds and his sheep; the feeling of utter contentment at being home.

But then Kansas was back again, “Dude, hurry up! Byren is making an announcement.” In a split-second the dream was gone, replaced by the normal excitement of living at the training school.

“Is it about why Linden skipped out?” he returned, a little annoyed at losing a wingman.

“I don’t know, maybe. Hurry up! You’re walking so slow!” Kansas motioned him forward and took off at a dash down the hallway, turning left at the fork ahead. Rolling his eyes, he nonetheless took longer strides to catch up, not wanting to keep everyone waiting. They were gathered by the door into the main station hall; his classmates on one side at attention, teachers on the other. He quickly fell into line beside Galen and waited, his usual posture correct enough to be seen as ‘at attention’ without having to make adjustments. He had been the last to arrive, not all that terrible considering that only Kansas’s docking was farther. Byren started right away.

“Congratulations, men; that was some fine flying out there.” He continued with the usual notes on maneuvers that needed adjusting, formations that needed tightening, and some notes of quick-thinking genius. The really interesting part came at the end. “I’m looking for volunteers for an incredibly important mission. If successful, said volunteers will graduate from the academy and will receive full recommendations to additional training schools of their choice, else full status in the reserve corps.”

Immediately he stepped forward, “I volunteer,” he said, his voice magnified by the voices of the others on his team. He felt confident about his abilities, and while he didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do once he graduated, it was comforting to know that he would have the support of the teachers of Niven at his back. Whatever challenge they would face in this mission, he knew that, so long as his team was with him, they would succeed.

“Excellent, excellent,” Byren said with a rare smile, “I had hoped as much – I hadn’t made any other graduation test! You will be briefed at a later time as to the specifics of this mission; Dismissed!” They saluted, Byren lazily saluted back and turned to exit the docking corridors in favor of the station itself.

“So what do you think it is?” Faxon asked as they started off after their teachers.

“It probably involves everything we’ve been trained in so far,” Kansas offered.

“Really?” Galen queried sarcastically, a brow quirked, “You think so?”

“You’re just jealous I outflew you,” Kansas shot back, pulling down an eyelid mockingly in good humor, still smiling as he danced out of Galen’s reach.

“But really, though, what do you think it is? Like a recon mission? Like to Titan or something?” Faxon looked to Tetsuya.

“It could be,” he replied cryptically, “but then it could be any number of possibilities; however, I believe it may involve the protection of a ship, similar to an escort, based solely on the maneuvers we’ve been practicing.”

“Makes sense,” he replied, wondering what they could be protecting; the circling pattern would be conducive to guarding both one-manned ships to cargo ships to a… “Do you think we could be escorting a passenger ship from one of the other systems?”

“Hey! Now there’s an idea!” Kansas replied enthusiastically, “How cool would that be? We’d be the first Earthlings they come across!”

They opened the door to the cafeteria just as Galen said, “Poor them,” and everyone laughed – the usually-stoic Tetsuya and butt-of-the-joke Kansas included as the thought of Kansas being the Earth representative hit. Could anything be more comical? He would definitely have a hard time putting up a serious front. The teachers stopped completely and he glanced around the room and saw Linden grabbing some food, two of the younger students – bright boys – were standing off to the side and… Laughter died on his lips when his eyes fell upon her. Light eyes and a pretty face stared at them from across the room, her eyebrows furrowed as though she were confused about something; her hair was a light, light silver, almost white, and tied up in a style that pulled at his memory for reasons he couldn’t investigate right away. She looked almost cute, with a carrot speared on a fork and giving the impression of a startled rabbit. His mouth twitched into a smile.

There were two women beside her who stood now and walked around the table to greet Byren and Tyrone – two sailor senshi of Crystal Tokyo. Their costume colors told him whom they were – Sailor Sandrine and Sailor Aemilia; they serve the Queen and... his eyes fell again on the girl. That must be why the hairstyle was familiar. Two pigtailed buns, shaped into an odd style; hers were hearts. He knew her – or, rather, knew of her. His mood darkened immediately, his mouth immediately falling to a nondescript line as the realization struck: she was Princess Serenity.

“Never forget that it is their fault, Kiernan. Your mother and father’s suffering, their death – all the fault of those imposters in Crystal Tokyo. You and your family should have been living at the Palace, not here; if you were in your rightful place they would never have died in that fire. Never forget that it is their selfishness, their greed for power, that did this.”

‘What was she doing here?’
he thought angrily as his commander helpfully supplied an answer: “They’ll be assisting with protection detail during our young Princess’s training.” He balked – were they serious?! He couldn’t help himself; Faxon was the first to speak, but his words were right on his heels.

“This is the ‘super important mission’ you were talking about? Can I unvolunteer?” The words were out of his mouth before he could reconsider them, but once he said it there was no going back. Quickly his mind flew through his options. He needed to graduate. Byren hadn’t prepared any other test or means of doing so without completing this mission, and his teammates would need a sixth to employ their tactical maneuvers. No one else could be trained on time – it had to be him, or they might all be at risk. Was there really an option, then? He would have to do it, as much as he disliked the very idea of the girl, and he’d have to perform well if he wanted the acclaim that would get him where he wanted to be.

Fine. But he didn’t have to like her. Or pay any attention to her. She was just another friendly on his radar; nothing more. He abruptly turned to head for the food line and heard Faxon step in behind him. They grabbed their trays and sat at a table – he purposefully took the side that would keep the girl out of his view – and he tried to tune out most of the conversation as he ate as it was about her. Why was she here, anyway? They have his kingdom, took his parents, and now deny him the sanctuary he had found here at Niven. The fingernails of his left hand bit into his palm as he thoroughly chewed through his meal. Soon the teachers stood to leave and he and his team stood with them as a sign of respect, then sat back down to finish, noticing Tetsuya relax marginally.

He smiled, “You could relax around them, you know.”

“Hmm?” Tetsuya looked up.

“They respect you nearly as much as you respect them; you don’t have to keep your guard up all the time.” He offered a smile, “Especially after that run you pulled yesterday.”

“That was some seriously nice flying,” Faxon offered truthfully, “they way you know that Asteroid was going to shift – practically anyone else would’ve hit it. But not you – did you develop a program for it?”

Tetsuya didn’t blush, didn’t smile, but Kiernan knew he appreciated the praise, “Yes, actually. It’s an algorithm that uses the trajectory, speed, and weight of the asteroid to triangulate its movements and adjusts accordingly.”

“Do you have a copy of that program available?” he asked, “I’d love to improve the future-guess on my bird.”

“It’s still in the testing phases,” his studious friend announced quietly, “I was considering using droid planes with vague paths out into the field sometime to see what it could actually handle – “

“Sounds like we have some entertainment for the night,” Faxon smiled slyly. “I’ll go get the keys to the droid room and claim extra practice.”

Tetsuya returned the sly look, “Then I’ll grab my program.”

The three of them stood, plans firmly in place, deposited their trays and filed out of the room. A quick glance told him that Princess Serenity had already left. Not that it mattered, but he wondered what Tamesis would say about this development…

:

The morning had gone rather well – with help from Faxon, he managed to convince Tetsuya to share his prototype program with the resident technology expert, earning his studious friend high praise. Classes went smoothly, but at this point the only useful part in the day was getting into the ships and working real-time on maneuvers and tactics. They were slated for flying in the afternoon, so lunch was somewhat of a welcome relief. Despite the unwelcomed guest.

Faxon reminded them all of her presence not long after lunch began. “So, I was thinking,” he started, “About the mission – do you think it’s an escort out of the system?”

“What do you mean?” Linden asked, putting his fork down. Kiernan kept eating, not all that concerned, or interested.

“Why would she need an escort?” Kansas added.

“Well, maybe they’ve got a match made for her, some sort of Prince in another system,” Faxon mused, “And we’re needed to get her safely to the meeting point.”

The idea didn’t sit well with him, like an uncomfortable squeezing in his gut. He put his fork down as his mind quickly tried to determine the stem of the problem. The Princess getting married to some Prince from another system should be good for him – it would get her out of his way, which was something along the lines of what Tamesis had been talking about. But wouldn’t that also mean that the Moon-clan would gain strong allies from another system to back their claim? She was the only princess of the Solar System, so wouldn’t that mean the intended Prince would be moving to Earth, instead of the other way around? Really, it would end poorly for him. That must be the reason for the discomfort, he determined.

“I’m not too sure,” Tetsuya mused.

“Why not?” Faxon asked curiously.

“We haven’t been past Uranus yet. If the Princess were going out of the system on a diplomatic mission of that importance, they would get much more experienced pilots than we.”

“Good point,” he offered, taking up his fork again and listening without much interest as the ideas continued back and forth, eventually changing to another subject altogether. Nearly halfway through the meal, the doors opened.

Kiernan stood with the others as the senshi entered, refusing to salute despite Kansas’s enthusiastic attempt. However, when his commander bowed, he really had little choice in the matter. Their appearance explained why they were there, though. Princess Serenity had awakened as a Sailor Senshi; though her attire differed greatly from the usual stylings of the asteroid senshi. Hers was a simple white dress, adorned with golden stars, feathered wings, and a rainbow-esque piece of material at the front of her skirt. She wore no gloves, only rings; her shoes were nothing but tiny little high heels with little wings on them. Without the long white cape flowing from her shoulders, she would look downright vulnerable. How could they expect anyone to fight in an outfit like that? The other senshi outfits had the illusion of power about them, but not hers – if she would be used as anything but a symbol, those people in the capital were cruel.

“May we introduce Sailor Cosmos,” Sailor Aemilia addressed, with Sailor Sandrine finishing, “Princess Bunny Serenity, crowned Princess of the Solar System.”

He wondered momentarily at the name; traditionally, or, rather, historically, the princess had been “Sailor Moon”; why the change? But his mind was derailed by Kansas enthusiastically snapping his fingers, “Oh! I see it now!”

He glanced around to see similar expressions on his fellow classmates’ faces. Cocking an eyebrow, he asked, “You guys didn’t see it?” but the way they looked at him now made it clear they hadn’t, “I thought it was obvious…” he commented, wondering how they really hadn’t seen it. Her hair was the same. Her face was the same. Every single part of her but the outfit was the same. He shook his head and sat back down, bracing himself for the amount of nonsense this new development would bring.

Thankfully, it wasn’t that bad. He probably had Tetsuya to thank for that, as immediately he started into applying this information to what he knew of the situation. “So she will be training as a senshi,” he mused aloud, “Perhaps those lessons would involve space travel? That would certainly explain our maneuvers; we might be making sure nothing goes wrong, or at least serving as protective detail should something unforeseen occur.”

“Wait, you’re saying they’d stick her out there in a space suit and expect her to attack and stuff?” Kansas asked.

They all shrugged. Lunch continued, but before much time had passed Kansas stood to excuse himself, cheerfully declaring that he was going to find out what was going on. Kiernan watched him as he casually approached the senshi pair, studying them for a moment. Or, rather, studying her. The enemy, of course. He wouldn’t be fooled by the smile or the friendly eyes. He turned back to his friends only to see Linden get up and join Kansas and the Princess, whose face was bright red with embarrassment, her hands moving back and forth in an energetic refusal. He smiled involuntarily, but wiped the expression off of his face immediately.

Conversation continued without them, but before long the teachers were leaving. He stood with everyone else, decided he was finished, too, and went to put his tray away. He was joined by Faxon on his way out, and they waited for Tetsuya and Galen before starting towards the bay. Linden appeared out of nowhere to walk with them, and Kansas met them at a dash. “Guys! Listen! She’s not betrothed or anything –“ he felt lighter, somehow; it must’ve been the security in the System ruling itself in the future. Kansas wasn’t done, “They can fly through space! She’s practicing flying through space! Without a ship or a suit or anything! Isn’t that fantastic?!

“We’re probably forming some sort of perimeter for her,” Faxon mused with interest, the team splitting for their respective corridors. As Kansas raced off ahead of him to catch up with his mentor and Tetsuya turned off towards his ship, Kiernan had a moment to himself and yet another out-of-place feeling. She would be out there, surrounded by the vacuum and harsh environ of space. They were right beside the Asteroid Belt, she’d be up against the random movements that even he, in his two years of flight experience, was still figuring out. She was a Princess; why were they doing this to her?

As he turned down the spoke for his bird, Clayton clapped him on the back, “You ready to go, Kiernan?”

He nodded, “Always,” he replied, and they waved as they entered the door to their respective ships. Kiernan pulled on his pressure suit and set the helmet within easy reach of his seat, then pressed the button that would close his little bird off from Space Station Nevin. Satisfied with the pressure, he hopped into the lowered cockpit and started the procedure for breakaway, checking in with his team via radio. In minutes, they were away, flying out towards their positions to start the sweeping protective detail.

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   17th May 2012, 8:41 pm

Unexpected Development pt 2

“And you are?” Kiernan questioned, teasing Faxon for a bragging statement. Faxon was a good guy, but he occasionally got carried away.

“Kiernan,” Clayton’s voice rung over the systems, cancelling out the other conversation channel.

“Sir,” he replied at full attention, his eyes scanning the gauges.

“Code 426,” lost package. “Stay tuned for additional information and keep your eyes peeled.”

Lost package? Dammit. He breathed deeply, turning his sensors to sweep an even larger area around him. His eyes were glued to the screen as the waves bounced off of objects, reflecting back their identities to his sensors. Rocks. More rocks. Nothing living out there; ‘Sailor Cosmos’s energy signature was nowhere within his region. Had they really lost her? Without waiting for direct instructions, he repositioned so he was facing another direction and ran another sweep, keeping his mind on the mechanics of the operation.

“Pilots!” a female voice tore through the coms, “Roughly thirty minutes ago we lost contact with Sailor Cosmos due to faulty communicator interaction with the Belt and an energy outpour. Our suspicions are that she has surpassed the reach of the belt and might lie somewhere in the Nu sector. Locate, approach, assist, return!” the line went silent, then started up again with mission conversation, status report, and the plan.

Kiernan checked his coordinates and moved so he could start a scan of the Nu region, noticing a sharp reflection far to his right towards the sun, knowing it to be Faxon moving around to cover his 1/12th of the designated space. Nu region, without any further qualifiers, meant the entire doughnut-shaped area of space surrounding the asteroid belt that stretched a good 15 degrees from the center point of the sun; it was an extremely large area of space. ‘And somewhere,’ Kiernan thought, sending out further signals and working hard to decipher the results, ‘A pigtailed girl in a little white dress is lost.’

:

It had been an hour and still nothing. He was frustrated, on-edge, and increasingly apprehensive. After initial sweeps came up negative, each of their twelve ships started searching their own 30 degree radius of the Nu region, spiraling farther and farther in all directions away from the Belt and the Niven. He was higher than the system’s equator, heading out towards Jupiter’s orbit, and the region was pitch black. What hope did they have, really? It was too immense, and her speed and direction completely unknown.

He was afraid for her.

No matter how much he tried to tell himself that this would work out for him, imagining what Tamesis would say – ‘It serves them right. The girl was clearly unfit to be a future ruler. Now is when we need to come forward, Kiernan, and reveal your inner heritage! They would not deny you your throne now!’ – he couldn’t stop the misplaced feeling of loss and fear that were slowly clawing their way through him. Where had these feelings originated? He hadn’t known the girl for twenty-four hours, and then, still, he had done nothing but see her. Why would he feel this way for her? He hadn’t felt this way since the fire and – maybe that was it. Projection; her situation now was similar to what he went through in his own life before Tamesis found him. It must be empathy creeping through, causing these emotions. That was the only logical explanation.

But even after placing their origins the feelings grew to the point of distraction. Continually checking the panels, the computer readouts, the scanners – nothing would fully take his mind off of her situation. It was as though something inside of him was taking over, his heart-rate elevated. He took his hands off of the controls in an attempt to regain some self-control, the fingers of his right hand going to his temple. Breathing slowly and purposefully, he closed his eyes… and then the inner force seemed to take over completely. He felt a pull, a strong sensation, and suddenly he knew where to find her. His hands flew back to the controls, making the necessary adjustments, and flew at top speeds out farther than he had thought it possible for someone to travel outside a ship.

As he flew farther and farther out, he started second-guessing himself. Was she really out there? Why was he doing this, anyway – it was just a hunch, just a feeling. He broke ranks and didn’t mention to anyone that he had left his designated area and entered a corner of Clayton’s; how much trouble would he get into? He considered turning around, but a sharp BLIP from one of his scanners changed his mind instantly. He had picked up something. He adjusted to meet the object head on, waiting for the scanners to identify the object.

On screen, the readout appeared: HUMAN.

His ship travelled quickly, yet still he was chasing the small dot of light on his radar. Her speed was incredible. He upped the thrusters to surpass her, and managed the feat after a solid three minutes push. Finally, he had a visual. She flew backwards with her arms hugging her torso, large feathery wings forming a second barrier, like a cocoon, around her. His sensors started peeping at him, detecting stray elements streaming back towards him from her position; in seconds the readout gave him a stream of components, the main percentage of which was water. She had been crying. With a final burst of speed he got behind her, trusting the computer to get the alignment right as he lost visual contact once she was between him and the sun.

With little difficulty, he unbuckled his belts and vaulted out of the seat, grabbing his helmet as he straightened and headed for the dash by his door, activating the gravitational beam usually used to pull objects into the ship on recon missions. Slamming the helmet over his head and locking it into place, he ignored the locks of black hair pressed against his forehead and locked his boots into place on the magnetized floor. With the push of a button the doors slowly opened, and he lost all cabin air to space. But there she was, her speed slowing drastically as she approached his bird, his use of the beam as an anti-accelerator performing excellently in this strange condition.

As soon as she cleared the doors he closed them, cutting off the view of the distant sun and the shining disk of dust that was the Asteroid Belt. He reengaged gravity, releasing the magnetic hold on his shoes, and was about to press the button that would pressurize the cabin when she suddenly turned.

Her cheeks were wet with tears. Her silver eyes pulled him in, loudly screaming of her loneliness, her fear, and she rushed towards him with her arms open. Her hands flung themselves around his neck, her head nestled against his shoulder familiarly. She was still sobbing, shaking like a leaf against him. As soon as the shock of her distressed appearance wore off, Kiernan reacted without thinking, his arms hugging her waist. He pulled her closer, careful to avoid touching her angelic wings, wanting to convey a sense of stability for her. “It’s alright,” he found himself whispering, though he knew she could not hear him, “I’ve got you. You’re safe.”

The tense feeling inside of him lessened the longer he stood there with her; perhaps his body was finally catching up to his mind. The crisis was over; the Princess was safe, the mission was a success. He should report to the others, inform them that the search was over, but... not just yet. He waited as long as he felt appropriate, waiting for her sobbing to still, her breathing to become even and without distress. Then he slowly pulled away and walked to the cockpit, nimbly jumping over the sides to slide into place easily. Unexpectedly, she joined him, sitting as close to the pilot seat as possible, looking uncertain and a bit embarrassed, probably for crying. As he started the sequence for returning to Niven, he felt a slight pressure on his right arm and glanced away from the screens to see the Princess’s slight hand on his forearm. He let her keep it there, adjusting his movements so his right hand and arm were moving the most, keeping his left on the only necessary controls on that half of the panel. After all that, it was no real wonder she wanted to stay close to someone.

He flipped the switch to pressurize the cabin and monitored the oxygen levels, waiting for them to reach life-support capacity so he could remove his helmet and tell her that she’d be back at Niven in twenty minutes, but as soon as the levels were acceptable that was no longer a possibility. His skin erupted in goosebumps and he turned to see her angelic wings fade away, her uniform melting into the dress she wore last night during introductions. Slowly her eyes rolled up in her head and she fainted, her head landing softly on the arm that still held onto his.

Not having to remove his helmet anymore, he pressed the communicator button and it honed in on the signals emitting from his headwear, keeping it on as to not disturb her, and called in to his team to tell them of his success.

:

His speed had him arriving at Niven before most of his team. He docked, shut down his bird, and carefully removed himself from her, wiggling awkwardly out of his seat so he didn’t disturb her. Once free, he considered opening the door and letting whoever was there take her in, but… shaking his head he walked over, bent down, and scooped her up into his arms. She weighed next to nothing, and while he had never held someone in that position before, it felt familiar. He adjusted a bit, so that her head rested on his shoulder instead of lolling back, and hoped that he wouldn’t accidently step on a pigtail.

“I’m in,” he spoke, stepping nimbly from his bird into Niven. With a few short steps he was in the main hallway, walking towards the entrance into the rest of the bay. Ahead two figures rushed forward to meet him, and in seconds Sailor Sandrine and Sailor Aemilia were there. Sandrine gently picked up her long pigtails and placed them in her lap before she took her from him, softly whispering a nickname as she hurriedly thanked him and rushed away. Aemilia stayed for a few moments more, asking for how and where he found her. He answered truthfully, wondering if he needed to ask permission to remove the helmet, but she soon disappeared after her partner and he was free to do as he chose.

He pulled the cumbersome headpiece off and shook his head, knocking some life back into his hair as he stashed the helmet beneath one arm and turned to put the suit back into his ship. Unfortunately for him, he was almost immediately knocked over. By an overenthusiastic Kansas.

“Dude, that was awesome! How did you know where she was?!”

“I don’t—“ he paused, not wanting to admit that he hadn’t known, “Just a lucky guess,” he played instead, shrugging his shoulders as though it had been no big deal.

“Lucky, my foot! It’s that crazy intuition you’ve got going on! Here, let me get your helmet,” Kansas offered. Kiernan handed it over and they walked together back to his ship. Clayton had just docked and patted him proudly on the back, congratulating him on a job well done. He jumped out of his suit and put it away, taking his helmet from Kansas to hang it where it belonged. They met Tetsuya in the hall, then Galen, Faxon, and Linden; even Byren congratulated him. Dinner that night was lively and filled with stories – even stuff of Clayton’s that he had never heard before. The conversation moved into the game room, where he faced off against Faxon yet again with a round of Divide and Conquer, and, to top it all off, he won.

But as he jumped into his bunk at night, the lights flicking off and the voices around him dying down to sleeping silence, more than the celebratory talk and the stories of grandeur, he remembered the angel-winged girl in the little white dress and the fresh tears on her cheeks.

:

The story he was telling the next morning at breakfast was suddenly interrupted with a not-so-subtle hint from Faxon that someone was behind him. He finished his sentenced, put his hands on the side of the table and glanced behind him to gauge the proper reaction. He nearly had to do a double-take, but decided ultimately that once was enough. Taking just a moment to compose himself, he pushed his chair back and stood, silently wondering why she had decided to make breakfast today when she had missed yesterday – he had thought he would have a meal without being reminded of her presence. Taking a deep breath, he turned and tried to look at her without looking at her.

… but that was harder done than thought. She was still small, still vulnerable. She looked tired and worn out, but it was like she was still shining underneath. Her eyes met his and held them. They were a beautiful gray color, with slight undertones of blue near the iris; he’d never seen anything like them. She smiled and took a step forward, and he almost smiled back at her. He felt calm, steadied around her… and that needed to stop right there. He raised an eyebrow and thought up the quickest way to get rid of her. “What can I do for you, Princess?”

She crossed her arms and looked away from him, as if she had some weird reason to be mad at him. “It’s Bunny,” she corrected.

Woah. What he did not need was to be on a first-name basis with her, a usurper. “I prefer Princess,” he stated flatly, looking at the moon mark in the center of her forehead to avoid her eyes. Though he thought the remark could have been construed as polite – he preferred her full title rather than a nickname, wasn’t that a sign of respect – she didn’t seem to take it the same way. In fact, it was almost as though she might explode in front of him. She gasped as if he had done the most offensive thing in the world, her eyes suddenly ablaze and her mouth slightly agape with indignation.

She looked at once ridiculous and endearing; he almost laughed, but instead he kept his face blank and prompted her for the reason of this unwelcome visit, “So….?”

She growled deep in her throat and snapped suddenly, “Never mind!” Flinging her hands to her side in fists, the little thing turned completely and marched off, silver hair streaming behind her from those Cupid buns. Then he allowed himself a smile, as she sat heavily across from Sailor Sandrine, all in a tiff. He turned around and sat back down, picking up his fork to finish his breakfast.

“What was that about?” Faxon asked.

“No clue,” he replied, putting a wedge of potato in his mouth and chewing.

“She looks kinda peeved…” he continued.

Kiernan shrugged – that wasn’t his fault. Well… maybe it was, but he wasn’t going to let it get to him. After he swallowed he changed the subject, “Did you finish the assignment?” he tried, and it worked. Tetsuya and Faxon were quick to take to the physics assignment and the programming projects they were finishing up with, and eventually they left. He glanced back as they pushed through the door and there she was, sitting with a straight back, still looking furious. He smiled.

:

Lunchtime… was an entirely different beast.


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   21st May 2012, 1:28 pm

They took to a small conference room for her lesson. Sitting around a round table in plush office chairs, she on one side, Sandrine and Aemilia on the other, the two senshi taught about the history of sailor guardians via conversation, rather than lecture. They discussed where to start – whether with a history of particularly important battles throughout the Milky Way Galaxy, or perhaps some background on their allied and neutral systems and the senshi who represent them, but, in the end, they decided to start with the very foundation of their order. Sandrine led the talk, beginning with the Galaxy Cauldron, star seeds, sailor crystals and chaos seeds…

“The Galaxy Cauldron,” Sandrine explained, leaning back in her chair comfortably, “is where all stars are born, and where all stars return to when they die.”

While at ease before, Sandrine’s final words were like an echo in her head, and for a moment, rather than looking into the hazel-eyed auburn-haired senshi before her, she stared into the red eyes of a very different woman; a woman with pale skin, long red hair, and a pink flower blossom insignia in the center of her forehead. She wore red lipstick and a choker of blue ribbon, and behind her was the dark expanse of space. She shuddered at the ghost of a memory and shook her head in an attempt to clear it, pushing the eerie recollection away from herself. Instead she focused on Sandrine, grasping her hands tightly on the arms of her chair to keep her grounded in her life. Galaxy Cauldron. Stars are born, stars die. Stars…

A dark deep place as cavernous as space itself – she felt like she was suffocating. It was too big, too open, larger than it should be. She stood on a ledge, the world lit from below by a spinning vortex of light and color; she could only see the emissions, and the tiny glittering dust that floated around them, she… and the senshi in gold. Bunny shivered. Her eyes, dark and menacing, cut through the space between them, bearing down on her, and then she was airborne, launching herself towards her! She responded, jumping forward to meet the assault – Sandrine. Sandrine and Aemilia. Brown-red hair, and black hair. Wooden table, soft plush chair. Bunny moved her hands from the chair to knuckle her temples.

Sandrine paused, watching her with concern, “Bunny, are you okay?”

“Mother told me once that there are stars in our hearts – is this what that’s about?” she asked, taking deep breaths and trying to think only of her own memories. Of her mother, with her dark ruby hair and friendly smile. She tried to think of that night when she got to sleep outside under the stars, with Sailor Ennomos showing her the constellations, and Zita and Biera squabbling and pushing each other around before Ameilia jumped out and scared them so bad they screamed! Tunis braided her hair and Carestia sat with Sandrine and Sandrine read her palm like the street vendors did, telling her of a fantastic future that they both built on with various heroes and adventures… and her mother, holding her hand and looking up at the stars. She had said something like ‘There’s a star in us’. … No, more like –

‘Each one of us carries a star within our hearts.’ Pale stone columns stood behind a statuesque, beautiful face with kind silver eyes…

She started pushing the memory away, but stopped suddenly. Silver eyes? She tried to bring it back but it was gone, yet she was sure. That woman, with silver eyes and long silver hair – she must have been Queen Serenity of the Silver Millennium, Princess Serenity’s mother… and the first person she had ever seen with silver hair and silver eyes outside of a mirror. She smiled slowly, both treasuring the information and silently shoving it in the faces of those kids in grade school who said she must’ve been adopted because her mother had red hair, her father was blond, and her grandmother had pink hair until she was much much older. She grinned sinisterly, thinking of little Sammy and Kenshin groveling in the sandbox with the mighty and legendary Queen Serenity standing right behind her. She nearly cackled.

“You alright there, World Shaking?” Aemilia asked, one eyebrow raised inquisitively.

“Huh?” she replied, coming back to the room yet again.

Sandrine looked amused, “Confusion, fear, anger, amusement, wonder, mischief – your face is an open book, Baby Bunny, and right now there doesn’t seem to be a plot.” She paused and Bunny blushed, semi-aware of how easy she was to read from past experiences with friends and her family. They always seemed to know what she was thinking… Sandrine continued, offering as an explanation, “Old memories?”

She nodded, looking off to the side, “Touchy subject, I guess,” it was like it was all something she had heard before, except for, “Did you know that Queen Serenity of the Silver Millennium had silver hair and eyes, like me?!”

“Really?” Sandrine inquired, genuinely interested. She looked up, one gloved finger on her chin thoughtfully, “her statue on the moon is made out of white stone, but I had always just assumed they were unable to incorporate dyes into the marble… how interesting…”

Aemilia winked, “Feeling authenticated?”

Bunny smiled sheepishly.

“That’s great, but we were there when you were born; if you had issues with hair color you should’ve just come to us.” Bunny glanced over to Sandrine, who looked back at her with a little smile – she had come to Sandrine once when she was little and had been told the same thing. It had put her fears to rest and given her something to fling back at the bullies, one eyelid pulled down and her tongue sticking out of her mouth, but nothing seemed to silence them like Zita could. Aemilia continued, “But I’d rather get through this history stuff as quickly as possible, so… if you could put those distractions on hold, that’d be great. You probably be able to remember all this at some point in time, if something caught the memory, but I’d rather you get all this info now and have it fresh in your memories to activate it easier,” she looked sidelong at Sandrine, “That is, if you ever actually need to use this stuff.”

“Oh, hush, you,” Sandrine brushed the comment away, “Just because you’ve never had a head for it doesn’t mean it isn’t important. You might’ve been fine relying on your powers and abilities to solve all of your problems, but I think Bunny would enjoy knowing where all of this came from. So,” she started again, before Aemilia could interrupt, “You’re right – when your mother told you that there’s a star in everyone’s heart, she was talking about the seed of life force inside of all of us – our Star Seeds. Star seeds are created within the Galaxy Cauldron, accepting energy and life from the spinning birthplace of stars, and then travel to where they are needed. They make their home inside of shells, or pre-formed beings, such as pollinated seeds, rocks, and fetuses, and join with them, supplying them with the energy they need to live. When the being dies, the star seed returns and melts into the Cauldron. Some speculate that the seed houses the being’s soul, and returning the Cauldron reunites them with everyone they have ever known and they live eternally suspended in feelings of peace and love, surrounded by friends and family.”

Bunny smiled, but refused to fully consider what Sandrine had said, feeling a memory trying to surface; perhaps something from Usagi’s time in the cauldron…

“But, like I said before, it’s not only truly sentient beings that have star seeds. Celestial bodies, like stars, planets, and asteroids,” she motioned to herself and Aemilia, “also have Star Seeds; however, it takes longer for their star seeds to grow within the Cauldron, growing from seeds into Crystals. Once a Crystal is formed, it travels to the celestial body it is destined to belong to, where it develops further, truly attuning itself to the body, anchoring the pair together indivisibly. Once that attunement has hit its peak, the star crystal has become a Sailor Crystal, and if the celestial body supports life, it chooses a host to inhabit, taking the place of the host’s star seed. That host grows with the power of the Sailor Crystal, is born, and will one day awaken as a Sailor Senshi, sworn to protect the life the crystal saw created within the Cauldron by using the powers inherent in the celestial body it is one with. The Celestial Body is guardian to the Senshi, and the Senshi is guardian to life.”

So… a planet had to have life on it to produce a sailor senshi? “But… well…” Bunny bit her lip, unsure how to phrase it, eventually deciding to be blunt. “There isn’t life on asteroids… so… how did you two…?”

Sandrine smiled, “Good observation! We were awakened by the Silver Moon Crystal, not our asteroids. Sometimes, strong Sailor Crystals are able to manipulate other Sailor Crystals. They can accept power from them and can even donate power to dormant crystals in order to awaken them in hosts of their choosing. So, when your mother became pregnant with you, she used the Rainbow Moon Crystal to awaken the Sailor Crystals dormant within the asteroids Tunis, Biera, Carestia and Zita. Those Sailor Crystals chose four growing female fetuses to inhabit, taking the place of the star seeds that might have chosen them, and your friends were born. Make sense?”

It was quite a bit of information… but it sorta made sense, so she nodded, wondering how much more complicated this lesson would be getting. … and how much longer it would last.

“Okay! Good. … and evil. There is always a balance to the Universe, Bunny, and if star seeds are neutral, allowing regular beings to choose their own destiny, and Sailor Crystals are good, protecting life in all of its forms, then there must also be evil to balance out the good. In the Galaxy Cauldron, growing alongside star seeds and crystals, are the Chaos seeds. These seeds are patches of hardened darkness, malice, distrust and—“

“Evil?” Aemilia supplied sardonically.

Sandrine glared over at her, “Well, yeah, evil. Do you want to talk about it?”

“Nope,” the raven-haired woman replied, fingering the streak of white in her braid in a bored fashion.

“Then hush! ” she shot at her, then calmly cleared her throat, “So! The seeds of Chaos are like concentrated malice while Sailor Crystals are like concentrated goodness. Like Sailor Crystals and Star Seeds, Chaos seeds can start growing in a being from its very beginning, taking the place of a star seed; However, unlike Sailor Crystals and star seeds, Chaos seeds can also take root in a person already born. They can cast shadows on star seeds, or even envelop them whole, turning a regular person into an agent of Chaos. At one time, a particularly strong Chaos Seed even took over the shine of an unawakened senshi, turning them into a senshi of chaos…”

“Sailor Galaxia,” Bunny whispered with a shiver. Sandrine nodded. “But… if chaos seeds can take root in anybody… no one is safe, are they?”

She smiled comfortingly, “No worries, Baby Bunny; so long as you keep the star in your hear shining brightly, chaos cannot take root there.”

:

Only a little over an hour later, they headed for lunch and a blessed break from all that information. She had heard a bit about the senshi of allied planets and their princesses; she learned that princesses all possessed strong sailor crystals, which allowed them to gather power from their senshi partners, and that was kind of neat, but Sandrine liked to go into extreme detail about the stories of the other systems, and judging by Aemilia’s face during some retellings, she gathered that the pink senshi might have exaggerated some of the stories to make them more tragic or exciting. It made them more interesting, for sure, but she wondered if she would ever be put into a situation wherein referencing Sandrine’s version of the story would land her in trouble.

They entered the teacher’s lunch room and the moment her eyes fell upon the back of the tall black-haired pilot trainee, Bunny cast off her mental strain like a stained cape and smiled determinedly. She would not fail this time! “I think I’m going to sit by Kiernan at lunch today,” she announced.

“Going to thank him for yesterday?” Sandrine inquired, Aemilia already heading towards the teacher table.

“Yep. For sure, this time.” Bunny replied.

“Well, make sure you convey my thanks, too, okay?” She familiarly placed her hand on Bunny’s head between her buns as a means of farewell, and followed Aemilia, glancing back over her shoulder to wink at the princess.

She took a deep breath and walked to the food line, not wanting to be served when sitting beside him, and picked up a tray. Kansas appeared at her elbow almost immediately, smiling curiously, “I can get you something if you want, Bunny,” he offered good-naturedly.

“That’s okay, Kansas,” she replied with an answering smile, “I can get it myself! I’m not that hungry, so…”

“Well then I suggest getting the stuffed potato – it’s great!” he enthused, pointing to a foil-wrapped ellipsoid.

She smiled and shrugged, “I like pretty much everything so—“

“Well you’re going to love this!” he plucked up the potato with a pair of tongs and set it down on her plate.

She giggled, “I’m sure I will! But, wait,” she paused, eyeing the potato with suspicious eyes, “Are there carrots in it?”

Kansas looked confused, “I don’t think so...” he offered, also looking down at the foiled food and then up at her. “You don’t like carrots?”

“Not anymore,” she grumbled.

“Well, if you don’t like it you can always come back and get something else!” he smiled, she smiled back, and then turned from the line.

There he was, almost right in front of her, looking bored and talking in low voices with the other tall boy – Tetsuya. The seat across from him was empty, with his other friend sitting across from Tetsuya. Perfect. Taking a deep breath and plastering a smile on her face, she walked straight forward, placed her tray down in front of the empty chair, and took a seat facing him. “Hi!” she greeted in her friendliest voice. He glanced up and just stared at her, offering no greeting in return. Tetsuya and the other boy stopped talking, but didn’t offer anything, either, looking at her inquisitively. No one was saying anything… She hesitated, but persevered. “How was your morning?” she tried again …. But was met with more silence.

Until another tray landed beside her and Kansas sat down, “Man, it was brutal!” he commented, “There was a roundtable discussion on navigation systems that I was really unprepared for, but Tetsuya swept the floor with everyone!” he commented, smiling at his tall bespectacled classmate. Tetsuya’s expression softened marginally, as if affected by the praise, and Kansas continued as though he hadn’t noticed, “he’s really amazing with all the technological stuff; I swear he’s the most talented genius of our age! Remember his name, Bunny, ‘cause he’ll be doing wonders in the future!”

“Really, Kansas, you exaggerate,” Tetsuya replied humbly with a slight nod of his head, as though trying to discredit the admiration. She furrowed her eyebrows at him – she enjoyed praise; if she were that smart, she would love for someone to be proud of her for it. As it was… well, she wasn’t exactly the top student back home… but that didn’t really matter, right?

“Yeah, right,” the boy beside her chimed in, “If you don’t end up creating badass starships that can traverse systems in minutes, I’m a lemur.”

She and Kansas laughed and Tetsuya’s mouth twitched into a smile. “A lemur? Those little monkey-things from Africa?” Kansas asked.

“Aren’t they marsupials?” the boy returned questioningly.

“Primates, actually,” Tetsuya informed, “but thinking them marsupials is a common misconception.”

Kansas laughed again, “Is there anything you don’t know?” he asked pleasantly. “Oh! That reminds me! I had a question for you! The other day you got really close to those asteroids and you just bobbed and swerved as if you knew what was going on – how did you do that?”

“He made a program that future-thinks gravitational interactions between the rocks,” Faxon offered, “We tested it again using a droid the other night – it’s really sophisticated. Even Craigen was impressed with it.”

“Woah! Really?” Kansas exclaimed with awe.

She had no idea what they were talking about. But they were talking – that was good, wasn’t it? “That’s impressive!” she enthused, taking a bite of her potato and glancing from face to face, hoping they wouldn’t pin her with a question she wasn’t prepared to answer… like anything about ‘droids’ and ‘future-think’ … or gravitational interactions… or who Craigen was… She chewed slowly – if she were chewing, they wouldn’t ask her anything anyway, right? The potato was really good, actually, just like Kansas had said it would be: buttery and delicious, with chives peeking out between the snowy meat of the potato, and not a carrot in sight. She glanced across the table; Kiernan wasn’t speaking at all, he was just picking at his food sullenly. She considered asking him if anything were wrong, but guys probably didn’t like being asked that in public, right? So maybe she should change the subject? Maybe he didn’t like talking about… er… whatever they were talking about. But change the conversation to what? He had been really animated that morning – maybe she could ask him to tell her the story he had been telling them?

She was just figuring out how to word the request when suddenly he stood, taking his tray in hand as he moved to another table without a word to anyone. Well, now what?

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   21st May 2012, 5:07 pm

Kyra...i think you need to change your topic title...this is no longer a quick fic. XD I plan to read but so many other things. o.o;;;

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   21st May 2012, 5:14 pm

... o_o you have a point. Consider it changed xD

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   28th May 2012, 12:03 pm

Still determined to thank him, she stood, too. “Please excuse me,” she asked with a smile, picking up her tray and walking around the table. A glance back assured her that Kansas wasn’t coming this time; this time, it was up to her to get him talking.

No problem. … maybe.

She sat down right beside him this time, smiling again, and picked up her fork. “So that was fun! Your friend Tetsuya is really smart, isn’t he?” she tried, looking up at him. He looked annoyed and wouldn’t make eye contact, resting his head on his hands and staring down at his plate singlemindedly. Focused on him, when her question was answered by a smooth voice across the table, she nearly jumped and dropped her fork.

“He’s a certified genius.”

It was Linden. A shiver went down her spine – he was gorgeous. He sat smiling at her playfully, his back straight and his blonde braid framing his face beautifully, his blue-green eyes staring into hers. She was blushing, she could feel it. She glanced away, smiling for no reason, and commented as best she could. “That’s amazing. I don’t know of any other geniuses… well, except for Ami-chan.” The words were out before she could really think them through.

“Ah, is she a classmate of yours?” Linden commented with interest.

“Well, no, not exactly –“ she hastily amended, “Ami-chan is – well, she was – Sailor Mercury.” How spazzy was she?! She looked down in embarrassment.

“And you couldn’t think of an example of a genius more recent than one who lived over 5000 years ago?” the blonde beside Linden commented sarcastically, one eyebrow raised. She flushed with awkwardness as he continued, content with looking down at her potato and wishing for invisibility. Or powers over time. Or even just to melt away into the chair. “Like, say, George Cannon, inventor of the hyper drive, or Jacques Tressaunt, who revolutionized artificial gravity? The team of researchers who theorized the validity of the Niven?”

“I think it was a valid connection,” Linden stated; she glanced up quickly to see him facing the other boy – Gallon? – who had his arms crossed, ready for his defense. “Our Princess is not only connected to the Royal Family who have a strong history and connections to senshi, but she is now a senshi herself; I’d honestly be surprised if she had neglected to recognize Sailor Mercury for the revolutionary mind that she possessed.”

Yeah, take that, Gallon!

The other blonde shrugged. “You mean a princess should only concern herself with education about her family’s personal history and the history of their allies, and not the advancements made by the common man?” he asked in a flat voice that somehow managed to sound accusatory. She wanted to discredit him, but Linden was coming to her defense yet again.

“I’m sure her grasp of Earth history is as thorough as yours or mine,” he stated. She bit the inside of her lip, hoping that she wasn’t about to be quizzed on history. She didn’t really have a head for dates… “But as she has just recently began her education as a senshi, I suspect her lessons of late have been focused on those historical women, and not on technological advancements through the ages.”

“Yeah!” she exclaimed, more as a reaction to Linden’s airtight response than an affirmation of its validity. She wished she hadn’t as it drew more attention to her – even from farther down the table, where teachers were now glancing their way. She laughed nervously and took another bite of her potato so she wouldn’t have to answer anything because, honestly, that morning was more like a summation of the best stories of allied systems; they hadn’t discussed Solar senshi history yet.

Linden smiled at her and she felt like she might swoon, he was so perfect. “You see?” he said, addressing the other guy but still looking at her. “I bet your lessons are really interesting – what did you learn about this morning?”

He was so sincere and interested that she couldn’t just say ‘You know… stuff…’ like she usually did when asked what she had learned at school. “Well,” she began instead, “We talked about the Galaxy Cauldron and the different classes of lifeforces developed there.”

“The Galaxy Cauldron?” the other guy asked in a sarcastic voice, suggesting she had made up the phrase.

Pursing her lips and crossing her arms, she defended herself, “Yes, the Galaxy Cauldron. It’s at the point in the very center of the Galaxy, and it’s where stars are born and where stars go to die.”

“Stars don’t travel anywhere to die; they just explode,” he countered. She decided didn’t like him that much. “And astrophysicists have determined that stars are born from the gas and dust a star leaves after an explosion – they don’t just fly out of a giant pot in the center of the galaxy. In fact,” he continued, “nothing can fly out of the very center of the galaxy, because the very center of the galaxy is a supermassive black hole. Not even light can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole, let alone stars.”

Nope, she didn’t care for him at all. She crossed her arms angrily and shot back, “Shows what you know! I wasn’t talking about those types of stars! I meant the stars that exist in each and every one of us! The star seed that provides us with the energy to sustain life!”

“And eating does what exactly?” he retorted, his voice bored.

She gripped her fork angrily, arms still crossed, and shot daggers at him with her eyes. She was over her head – Sandrine hadn’t said anything about how it works that way. Just something about souls… “Your star seed holds your soul.” She stated instead, still angry, waiting to see what he did with this.

“Oh,” he said casually, “I didn’t know this was a religious thing.”

A religious thing?! But it was real! There was evidence! Star seeds must exist because Sailor Crystals exist, and Sailor Crystals are what senshi use to draw the power of their guardian star! She wanted to scream, to yell all of this at his stupid bored face, but it would be just too unladylike and he’d just shrug it off anyway, acting all cool, so she settled for glaring at him.

“I think the idea of the Galaxy Cauldron is really interesting,” Linden commented, his words like a balm on her raw nerves. “It is certainly a comforting thought, if you do believe that our souls are housed in our ‘star seeds’, and that those ‘star seeds’ return to the Galaxy Cauldron when we die. It definitely sounds like one would never be lonely after death.”

She smiled and nodded at him, loosening the grip on her arms. “And it’s true – it’s all –“ she paused, glancing around. Kiernan was gone. She looked over her shoulder at the table with Kansas and Tetsuya, but he hadn’t returned there. She scanned the area, even standing up a bit to see over the taller teachers, but he she didn’t see him anywhere. “Where did he go?” she asked herself.

“Who, Kiernan?” Linden guessed, but she didn’t look back at him. Maybe Kiernan was sitting really low in a seat so she couldn’t see him… “He just put his tray away.”

She stood up and grabbed her tray. “Thanks!” she said back to Linden as she hurriedly walked towards the disposal area. She had only finished half of her potato, but that would hold her over until dinner, right? She dumped the rest into the trash, sorted her utensils and her tray, and made for the door as quickly as a ladylike person could.

“Bunny?” Sandrine inquired from a table; she turned and held up her index finger, indicating that she’d be back in just a minute, and pushed through the doors into the main cafeteria. The door ahead that led into the rest of the ship was just closing, so she pressed on a little faster, intent to catch him before he could disappear into the labyrinth of classrooms. When she reached the door she hauled it open and practically jumped into the hallway, glancing both directions for any sign of him, and caught his retreating form heading to the right, away from the classroom that she had been in this morning.

“Wait!” she called, moving to catch up, but he didn’t seem to hear her. “Kiernan! Wait up!”

Finally he stopped, but he whirled around so quickly that she almost bumped into him. “What?” he inquired, his body-language exasperated with his arms palm-up in frustration, “What do you want?” His blue eyes bore into hers, demanding answers, his mouth a set line.

She froze, suddenly unsure of what to do or say. She didn’t dare even blink. He was angry with her, but why? What did she do? Habitually her hand formed a fist, her thumb worrying her fingers nervously. “I,” she started, but her voice was gravelly and weak, probably worn out from lunch when it hadn’t fully recovered from yesterday. Definitely not because he was scary. She cleared her throat, breaking eye contact to stare down at the ground and tried again. “I… uh… Sailor Sandrine wanted me to thank you for her.” She shuffled her foot nervously, wimping out. “You know, for yesterday.”

He said nothing. She glanced up to see his brows furrowed incredulously, “She wanted to thank me by having you follow me everywhere?” he asked accusatorily.

She blushed and looked away again. “No… I…” now was her chance. She could say it, and be done with this whole embarrassing mess. “I…”

“You what?”

The irritation in his voice made her feel even worse. She wanted to fade away, she was so uncomfortable. Why had she followed him? How stupid of her… but wait! No! She was trying to be nice! He was the stupid one for not talking to her! If he had only been nice this morning, none of this would have happened! She growled, “Grrrr! Nevermind!” she stomped her foot and turned back around, marching forward some paces, slamming her feet down as loud as she dared. Then she stopped – she wasn’t finished with him yet! “STUPID! IDIOT!” she spat, sticking her tongue out at him, “I didn’t want to thank you for saving me, anyway!” She turned her head so her hair would fly furiously and kept going.

“I got an award, so I didn’t need you to thank me!” he returned, his voice raised to reach her with the hint of frustration still ringing through.

She growled again and stomped a little louder – of course that’s all he cares about! He only found her for a stupid stupid award! Scholarships, system-wide acclaim – that’s all he was after! Well he got what he wanted, then, and she was glad to be rid of him! That… that stupid boy!! Her third growl brought her past the doors to the cafeteria, which opened just after her passing.

“Bunny?” Sandrine asked, but she was too mad – she just kept walking.

“I’m ready for my lessons,” she rumbled, her fingernails digging into her palms.

“Oh, alright then,” Sandrine commented airily, catching up to her quickly. She was the image of calm and cool, looking distinctly aloof but pleasant. Bunny growled again, yanking open the classroom door and storming to a seat to collapse into it, folding her arms on her desk and casting about grumpily. Sandrine sat across from her at the conference table, still looking unconcerned, while Aemilia looked a touch confused. But Aemilia didn’t say anything, Sandrine did. “So, did you get to thank him?”

She didn’t answer, clenching her teeth together and looking away from both of them.

“Thank who?” Aemilia asked.

“That young pilot who saved her yesterday – Kiernan,” Sandrine clarified with a wave, as if the information wasn’t important.

“Great sentiment and all, but you don’t really need to thank him,” Aemilia commented. Bunny scowled. “He’s going to be presented with an award –“

“I know,” Bunny growled.

“—Oh,” Aemilia stopped, then redirected, “If you knew, then why did you—“

“I didn’t know until…” Bunny paused, willing herself not to cry out of remembered humiliation. She cleared her throat and leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms and refusing to look at either of them, “until he told me.”

“Well then—“ Aemilia sounded even more confused, but she was interrupted by a cheerful Sandrine.

“Ah, well then it was good thinking on Aemilia’s part to tell everyone that the person who found you would receive an award, wasn’t it? Good thinking, Aemilia!”

She pulled her arms in tighter to her chest.

“I said no such thing!” Aemilia contested, “And if some little snot valued an award more than finding you, he doesn’t deserve to share any kind of space with you.”

She smiled a bit at this. Especially at the ‘little snot’ line.

“Wait,” Sandrine asked in a peculiar voice, as if she were leading the question, “so you’re saying that the boy didn’t know he’d be getting an award when he saved her?”

Her arms started to relax, her teeth unclenching, catching on to what Sandrine hinted…

“No; I only told his superiors about it at breakfast this morning.”

Things weren’t so heavy anymore. She took a few slow breaths to dispel the feeling altogether, and slowly unwound her limbs.

“Oh… so I guess he didn’t do it for the award,” Sandrine said, shrugging.

Shyly, regretting her behavior earlier, Bunny caught Sandrine’s eye and offered a small smile. “Thanks.”

Kiernan didn’t save me because he knew would get an award for saving a Princess; there was nothing in it for him when he found me. He did it because he’s a good person… and no one solely interested in renown would have… she bit her lip, as if recalling a pleasant secret, would have held me while I cried, or tried not to move his arm when I still needed to touch someone. He’s a good person. … but he’s also either a butthead or just plain socially awkward.

For the second time that day, she swore she’d get through to him, and while Sandrine started up again with more histories of their allies and tidbits about foreign senshi that might someday be useful, Bunny tried thinking up ways to do just that.

:

Bunny, lightheaded and just a little loopy, sat where Sandrine told her to sit and blanked out for a minute, her stomach growling uncontrollably. But the second the delicious smell of food wafted near her, she snapped back to life with gusto. Wielding a fork and knife, she tore into her dinner as if channeling a shark, completely focused and single-minded until the plate was clean. She was asked by a laughing Sandrine if she was still hungry, and, after a nod, another full plate was put before her. This second dish didn’t disappear nearly as fast – she actually tasted the food. She glanced around the teacher’s cafeteria, wondering how many people saw her devour that first helping, but found no one there. Relieved of that possible embarrassment, she continued to chew through her meal, her stomach less ravenous than it had been.

“Where is everybody?” she asked curiously, cutting her meal into bite-sized portions.

Aemilia glanced up at the clock in the corner of the room, “Probably docking; dinner doesn’t officially start for another five minutes or so.”

“Oh,” she replied and stood, spearing a small cut of beef and putting it into her mouth as an afterthought before she left the vicinity of the table. Chewing quickly, she approached the meal line and looked around for anyone working. Almost immediately an older person popped into sight and rushed over, a bowl of freshly cooked and chopped carrots in his arms, ready to refill the main line in the adjoining room.

“How might I help you, Princess Serenity?” he asked with a quick nod.

She smiled, waving off his gesture with both hands, “Oh no! I just wanted to say thank you for the trouble you had to go through to make a plate for me before dinner was supposed to start!” She bowed slightly, “Sorry for being so much trouble!” she straightened and smiled back at his confused but pleased expression, then remembered that she hadn’t actually thanked him, “Oh!”, and bowed again “Thank you!”

“You are most welcome, Princess Serenity,” he replied, “And it was no trouble at all! In fact, if you need anything else, please don’t hesitate to ask! And if any of the boys behind the counters here give you a hard time, you tell them that Jameson already said okay.” He winked.

She giggled at his genial nature, “Okay! Thank you very much, Mr. Jameson!”

“My pleasure, Princess,” he replied with another nod of his head. He turned and went back to work, and she returned to her meal.

“I’m so hungry,” she complained, taking another mouthful of food, “Will it always be like this?”

“No,” Sandrine laughed, “It’s just what happened yesterday. Your sailor crystal handles most of the stress on your body when you’re transformed, but when you get as wiped out as you did yesterday, it leaks over into your untransformed state. You’re going to sleep really well tonight, too; I’m surprised you didn’t sleep straight through the morning.”

She nodded absentmindedly and finished her plate – she didn’t feel sleepy at all. Maybe still a little hungry, though. She got up and put her plates away, then joined Sandrine and Aemilia in line as the buffet was filled, wondering if this third helping would be her last, marveling that she could actually fit that much food in her stomach. As they headed back to their table, the double doors opened to emit the teachers and senior-class pilots, all talking amongst each other animatedly. Kansas waved to her and she waved back, taking a seat beside Sandrine at the end of a table. She saw Kiernan, too, and smiled at him, but made no effort to speak to him. She had decided to leave him alone at dinner. Completely. Not one word to him, unless he started talking to her first.

Their table started filling up with teachers, who spoke amicably with Aemilia and Sandrine, but before all the spots could be taken, Kansas took the spot across from her. She was glad to see him. They talked together and laughed; she found out about his family and his past: they lived in America, kinda; ever since he was little he had been on and off space stations, both parents were experienced and talented pilots. He was one of six kids, each and every one of them as friendly and outgoing as he, and his stories of their holidays made her laugh until there were tears in her eyes. He loved talking about them and telling her ‘scandalous family gossip,’ especially about his wily great uncle William and his mischievous adventures.

“So, what do you guys do around here for fun?” she asked once they were both finished with dinner.

Kansas smiled, “Do you want to see?”

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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   28th May 2012, 2:48 pm

Unexpected Development pt 3
He didn’t see her at first - he was facing away from the door again – but then, unexpectedly, she appeared going through the lunch line herself. She picked up the bright red plastic tray as natural as ever, despite how out-of-place it looked in her hands – like an angel with a garden hose rather than a harp, or something – and paused, glancing curiously at the menu for the day. Kansas hopped up to join her and they spoke with each other for a moment; over the din of the guys he could only catch a few words of their conversation, like “I can get you something…” “That’s okay… not really hungry” “it’s great!” She shrugged delicately, Kansas continued, something like “going to love this!” Why was he so excited about a potato? But she laughed – more like a giggle, really – and that’s when he stopped paying attention to them. Girls: upset and angry one moment, giggling foolishly the next. He rolled his eyes and went back to his meal, offering an offhanded comment to Tetsuya’s question about the morning’s roundtable about navigation technology.

And then a tray landed on the table a little ways in front of him. With dread building in pit of his stomach, he looked up and saw her taking the empty seat across from him, smiling cheerfully. Why…? What was she thinking? She cheerfully greeted them with an enthusiastic, “Hi!”, as though this were an everyday occurrence, like she belonged there or had been invited to lunch with them. He remained silent. As credit to their loyalty, Tetsuya and Faxon went quiet, as well, helping him give her the cold shoulder. Maybe she’d get the picture and find another seat.

“How was your morning?” she chirped on, apparently blind. For a moment he thought they had a chance – no one said anything, and that would discourage her, wouldn’t it? – but then Kansas showed up and started talking about the morning and praising Tetsuya’s accomplishments; Tetsuya deserved every word, but Kansas’s little speech thawed the chill they had going and soon Tetsuya had to answer humbly, as he always did. He wanted to jump in and assure him that it wasn’t empty claim, but, lucky for his silent streak, Faxon jumped in to do just that.

The three of them started talking genially, and as soon as the Princess joined in, he saw his chance. He picked up his tray and switched tables, joining Linden and Galen, and sat down heavily.

“Oh, hey Kiernan. What’s up?” Galen asked.

As his response formed on his lips, a tray landed beside him and there she was. Again. [i]Sighing exasperatedly, he put his elbow on the table and leaned his temple into his palm, looking to the other two for assistance. Anything would do – they could claim that the conversation was private, or that they were about to leave, or that her teachers were motioning for her – [i]anything. Linden glanced at him once and redirected his gaze to the Princess to his left; Galen just stared at him inquisitively. Oh, come on.

“Hel—“ Linden started a greeting, but she was already speaking.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw her looking at him, smiling and chatting with her fork raised again, “So that was fun! Your friend Tetsuya is really smart, isn’t he?” she chirped, happy as a singing bird. Why. Glaring down at his meal, he wondered sullenly why she was doing this. What had he done to her? Why is she latching on to him?

And why the Hell did some part of him like her sitting beside him?

He considered getting up and moving again, but he decided to stay, for the moment, at least. Right now his best hope was that Linden would think up some reason to get her away from him. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

“He’s a certified genius,” Linden replied smoothly and he felt the girl start in surprise beside him. Incredulously, he turned his head so his forehead now rested on the heel of his hand, his fingers threading though his hair. She hadn’t seen them. She had sat down at a table without actually noticing who was already sitting there. He felt like growling, a sensation that only intensified with her obvious blush when she looked at Linden. If she wanted to flirt with Linden, why was she following him around? She muttered something about not knowing any other geniuses – like anyone she knew could be any kind of competition for Tetsuya, anyway – and mentioned a name: Ami-chan.

The name meant nothing to him, and yet he felt as though he had heard it before. However, when asked to clarify and she revealed that this Ami-chan was none other than a senshi long since dead and gone, he lost interest again. For a moment; in fact, only until Galen started up.

“And you couldn’t think of an example of a genius more recent than one who lived over 5000 years ago?” Galen commented sarcastically, one eyebrow quirked. She flushed with awkwardness as he continued, staring pointedly down at her barely-touched potato; he couldn’t help the smirk on his face as he listened on. “Like, say, George Cannon, inventor of the hyper drive, or Jacques Tressaunt, who revolutionized artificial gravity? The team of researchers who theorized the validity of the Niven?”

“I think it was a valid connection,” Linden interjected. He couldn’t wait to hear this. “Our Princess is not only connected to the Royal Family who have a strong history and connections to senshi, but she is now a senshi herself; I’d honestly be surprised if she had neglected to recognize Sailor Mercury for the revolutionary mind that she possessed.”

The other blonde shrugged. “You mean a princess should only concern herself with education about her family’s personal history and the history of their allies, and not the advancements made by the common man?” This was what Tamesis had mentioned time and time again – the royal family separate themselves from the community, content to sit on a throne but to know nothing about their people. The practice was imbecilic – if they wanted what was best for the people, as one would assume, they should know the people. Know their pains, their needs, and acknowledge their accomplishments. If he were but given the chance…

“Yeah!” the princess exclaimed over-enthusiastically, startling him into slipping off of his perch, almost going head-first into his meal. He recovered quickly and sat up straight, wondering what he had missed that had caused such an abrupt about-face.

“You see?” Linden addressed – Linden. Linden had happened. “I bet your lessons are really interesting – what did you learn about this morning?” Kiernan took a deep breath, readying for whatever Linden had just unleashed. His classmate had always been good at keeping the peace – part of the reason why he chose to sit with him rather than trying Clayton – but it seemed now that he was using his charms to firmly take a side with the Princess against Galen.

When would lunch be over?

“Well, we talked about the Galaxy Cauldron and all the different classes of lifeforces developed there,” the princess offered thoughtfully.

“The Galaxy Cauldron?” Galen repeated sarcastically, and Kiernan would have been with him, if not for the déjà vu sensation attached to the name. He listened to the ensuing conversation, fighting off laughter at Galen’s comments and the Princess’s reaction to them, meanwhile logging away what she said about the apparently mythical place. In short order, her thin little arms were crossed in anger, her fork gripped in her hand, almost too close to him for comfort. When she started shaking with fury – sometime after Galen mentioned the idea sounding religious – he realized that now was the perfect time to make an escape. She was distracted, not paying attention to anything anymore.

Quietly he got up and, as silently as he could, pushed his chair back. He took up his tray, careful not to scrape it and break her concentration, and then walked behind her, cautious to avoid stepping on the pool of silver hair by the base of their chairs. In moments he had put his tray away and exited the room, free of her at last.

As he strode through the main cafeteria, waving at an overzealous salute from one of the juniors, he wondered just where he would like to spend the extra ten to fifteen minutes before reporting to the launch bay; he would have gladly just gone and sat in his bird for that extra time, but the door to the area was locked until one of the teachers passed through, so no luck there. Maybe the game room… he could fit in a simulation in that amount of time, right? Decision made, he hung a right outside the cafeteria and continued walking.

“Wait!” a feminine voice called out. chibi, he cursed to himself, and completely ignored the cry, hoping she would just go away. The footfalls behind him only sped up, however, and seconds later she called out again, “Kiernan! Wait up!”

Angrily he halted and abruptly turned around to face her, finding her much closer than he had imagined. He threw his arms to the side in frustration, “What?!” he snapped, “What do you want?”

Her whole body froze as she stared up at him, the pupils of her silver eyes contracting in fear, and immediately he regretted yelling at her. He had to fight himself not to comfort her, not to tell her that he was sorry, not to reach out and touch her again or hug her in apology. The truth was that they were enemies – he the true King of Earth, she and her family the usurpers. One day he would rise and make a claim for the throne... and neither of them could afford to have a weakness in that fight. So he kept his face in the same expression, forced a hardness to his eyes, and tried his best to scare her off. He was tired of these conflicting feelings, and of her causing them.

“I – “ she tried, her voice weak and cracking. He kept his mask in place and took a deep breath through his nose, again fighting off the urge to ease her troubles. She looked away from him, and with her eyes off of him he felt more in control of himself. “I.. uh…” she fumbled for words, “Sailor Sandrine wanted me to thank you for her.” She shuffled, as if that reasoning made any sense. What had he done for Sailor Sandrine? “You know,” she finally continued, “for yesterday.”

Yesterday. The event that started this whole mess.

Instead of thinking about it, he focused on the girl’s annoying acts ever since. Her approach at breakfast and that whole stalker act just now – she was nothing but a nuisance! Did Sailor Sandrine really tell her to follow him around in some weird attempt at thanking him? “She wanted to thank me by having you follow me everywhere?” he asked aloud, incredulous that someone thought that that was a good method for thanking him. A simple passing “Hey, thanks Kiernan” would have done just fine! No need to ruin his meals!

She blushed at his question and looked away, “No… I…” she paused, again – what was with her? “I…”

He was tired of this. He just wanted to get away from her, and never have to deal with her again. “You what?” he prompted, impatiently.

She seemed to shrink for a second, but then she grew. The eyes on him now were hard and fierce, her face flushing with anger now as she growled heatedly. “Nevermind!” she barked, stomping hard with one foot before she turned abruptly, her long hair brushing his shins with the rapidity of the movement. She stomped off, as if she had any reason to be upset, and then turned to yell at him again. “STUPID! IDIOT!!” she stuck her tongue out at him – a childish move if ever there were any! – and snapped at him, “I didn’t want to thank you for saving me, anyway!”

Was that what this whole thing had been about?! How hard was it to say ‘Thank you!’ and just walk away?! That was no excuse for her actions! And why did she feel she had to thank him, anyway? Her family had taken care of that for her! “I got an award!” he shouted back at her, his voice carrying just enough to reach her as she continued to storm away, “so I didn’t need you to thank me!” He turned and stormed off in his own direction, exchanging thoughts of a strategy simulation to one of hand-to-hand combat. She was so confusing!

They told him this morning that he’d be getting an award for finding her, and that, to him, was completely in character with the Royal family – bestow an award so they didn’t actually need to thank him. As if a bit of metal and a note by his name would erase any ties they had to him, erase any need to feel indebted to him. He didn’t want them to be indebted to him, but throwing an award at him for doing something decent and honorable was almost an insult to what he did. He didn’t find her and save her because he wanted acclimation, though that is what he might tell Tamesis; he did it because she was lost in space, one of the most frightening sensations anyone could ever imagine. He would’ve helped anyone in that situation! No fancy award or honorary ceremony necessary!

He punched in his ID code into the pad beside senior student game room and the doors whisked open for him, allowing him to storm over to the physical combat simulation room and grab his gear. Outfitted with gloves, boots and a helmet, he jumped into the simulation of a fight and punched away his frustration.

He didn’t want an award. He ducked, avoiding a punch, and made a swipe with his leg to take out his virtual opponent’s feet. He didn’t want a ceremony in his honor. The opponent jumped away without harm. He wanted to be rid of the Royal Family and their pretentious ways. He sprang up and slammed into the opponent’s jaw with his fist, sending the image back from the force of the uppercut. He wanted the Princess off the Niven. A roundhouse punch to the face followed, keeping the opponent off balance. He wanted the weird déjà vu feelings to go away. Shifting his weight to his left leg, he kicked out hard, connecting with the virtual chest, sending the opponent flying into the barriers around the ring. He wanted his life back!

At the end of the match, a loud buzzer sounded with a final score comprised of the net force he had inflicted, the number in green to show it was his personal best score. He threw off his helmet and breathed deeply, calming down after the quick virtual knockout. The graphics of the game faded, and he was again completely alone. He stood partially upright, staring at the empty, padded room, and hated the realization if he really wanted anything, it was her thanks.

:

By the end of their practice runs, he felt much more like himself. Calm, centered, focused – flying was the best balm for any troubled mind. The feel of freedom, of control, always seemed to reset him, letting him solve his problems with detachment, and while the confusion with the Princess wasn’t exactly a problem, he felt better nevertheless. He, Tetsuya and Faxon entered the cafeteria together, joking around, and while he felt some trepidation at seeing the Princess, nothing came from it. She left him alone, and he enjoyed an easy meal with his friends. What guilt he had over yelling at her earlier remained, but was satisfied with the assertion that he would apologize another time; tomorrow, maybe.

After dinner they headed to the game room and he set up a game against Faxon. He decided the type and number of units, Faxon the goal and setting. The game began as a recon mission on an extrasolar planet with two teams covertly searching for the same object. They set traps against each other and defended their bases as teams covertly searched neutral territories for the target; it was understood, however, that the target wasn’t the only goal of the game – you also had to capture the other person’s base, whether by force or some other means.

The game lasted for nearly three-quarters of an hour, but, in the end, he triumphed. As they shut down the three-dimensional holographic display, he heard a pair of hands clapping and assumed it was Faxon and Tetsuya being sarcastic. In response, he pumped his fist in the air once, but, as the screen faded away and the other side of the room was viewable to him, Faxon wasn’t clapping.

Princess Serenity and Kansas were.


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PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   15th May 2013, 9:05 pm

Unexpected Development pt 4

He didn’t know what to do as conflicting emotions tried to stir him into action; on the one hand he was angry at her for infiltrating one of his remaining sanctuaries and acting so at-home within it, as though she owned the place personally; on the other hand he felt guilty all over again for yelling at her. Rather than decide which he wanted to follow, he decided the best course of action would be to leave. He went around the table on the side opposite the overenthusiastic cheerers and offered his friends a sardonic smile as means of a goodbye – they would understand his sudden departure. He told them a bit about what was going on earlier. Well, that he and the Princess weren’t on the best of terms, at least. … and that he had yelled at her. Tetsuya hadn’t cared much for that, but Faxon was on his side about it.

Not that that was particularly comforting, he mused as the doors closed behind him. He liked Faxon, but having his support on questionable actions most often meant a normal conscience might have cause to worry. He took a deep breath and let it out in a huff, dispelling the confusing tension in his chest as he decided where he might go, smiling slightly at the thought that, if nothing else, if Faxon thought something appalling it was guaranteed to be. He glanced up at the ceiling to see if any of the other rooms were open or if there was a meeting somewhere he could sit in on, but the red line led only to their dormitory. He took a right, towards the more common areas of the ship, and decided that some stargazing might do him some good.

From memory he walked the hallways, remembering with amusement how lost he had been that entire first year aboard the Niven, when the slightly concave floors, the constant spinning, and the knowledge that up was actually in and left was up left him in a haze of disbelief for weeks. Kansas was actually the force behind the widespread acceptance of their ‘place in space’ throughout his entire class – he had the most experience of any of them aboard spaceships and stations, and he was always making inane rhymes and games about the whole thing. He smiled. From the very beginning he knew the group that would end up as true pilots with him; the six of them had the best reflexes, the best ideas, and usually scored well on tests. He and Faxon stuck together from the start, partners in crime and exploration, occasionally meeting up with Linden to get even deeper into the station. They took on Tetsuya to map their ‘discoveries’ and make sense of the general layout of the ship, and while Linden would come and go, Tetsuya stayed with them.

They would get in such trouble sometimes. He punched in his identification number into one of their lounge rooms, remembering when Faxon figured out a teacher’s ID and got them all into whatever second-year room they wished, and they chose the simulation room to “start training”, even though they all had years to go before they could take the pilot entrance exams.

Space unfolded before him as the door slid out of the way and he stepped into the room, wondering which video he wanted to watch, but before he had travelled more than three steps a surprised cry had him turning quickly on the spot to face the doorway, his body tensed for anything. There, falling head-first towards him, was the Princess, her silver hair spilling over one shoulder and impeding the movement of one hand as she reached out to break her fall, her wide silver eyes colored with panic. He lunged a little closer and caught her hands before she could hit the floor, holding them deftly to lend her some balance. And then, for a split second, he was elsewhere.

Reaching out, pearl-ringed fingers stretched towards a strange, dusty-colored planet, rushing forward through space at an impossible speed. On the orange-hued globe a small explosion plumed ominously; while it appeared miniscule from this distance, it would be impossibly huge for any of the planetary inhabitants. “No! Please!” the princess’s voice cried out desperately. A long staff topped with a winged orb appeared in one hand and both arms shifted to use the weapon defensively, but as a stream of shimmering silver shot out of its starry tip, a shockwave erupted from the planet. Thrown backwards with the blast, there was no chance anything made it in time to contain the explosion. Head over heels, stars appeared and disappeared, a close star appeared to the left and circled with the motion, but feathery wings appeared suddenly to stop the crazed spiral. Sweeping around to reorient to the new view, the place where the planet had occupied came back into focus, but rather than finding the dusty orb, instead there was a field of debris.

“No!” she cried, throwing the staff away to cover her face with her hands. From all around came the sound of screaming, faint but all-consuming. “Please,” the princess continued, her voice interrupted with sobs, “no more.”

Her knees hit the floor with a solid thud, and in the momentary silence that followed he could almost hear his heart racing. What was that? He looked down at her, certain that what he saw was not part of her past, but a vision of her future. She looked up at him, her expression still filled with shock and unease, almost embarrassment, but her eyes seemed to see straight into him. A smile started on her lips, and the vision faded away slowly, leaving him bit by bit, first the stars, then the field, and finally the sound of a thousand voices screaming as she cried to herself… But that was only a possibility of the future. It might never come to pass, and right now there were more important things than his disconcerting views of a possibility. What she was doing there, for example.

He helped her to her feet, noting as he did so that her ankles were scuffed by the fall, seeing their rouge coloring before her dress fell into place around her feet, pooling on the floor around her. Cocking an eyebrow, he gently sent healing energy into her through his hands, just enough to heal any capillary ruptures, and kept her attention off of the small intrusion with a question that he honestly wanted to hear an explanation for. “Did you really just follow me all the way from the game room?”

She looked slightly embarrassed, but she managed some form of an answer. “Uh… yeah, but-“

So she followed him – there really was no explanation, but he wanted to get that out in the open. Along with, “… and then tripped over your own feet trying to race through the door?” He looked to the closed door behind them to emphasize his point, and she nodded feebly, the little hearts on her head bobbing.

No anger, no embarrassed outburst or defense, all hinting that this might have been a normal occurrence for her. Could she really be that clumsy? She, the Princess of the Solar System, tripping over her own two feet on a regular basis – it didn’t make for a convincing adversary. He could imagine it now: her in her flowing princess gown and her long silver hair, looking everything like an ethereal and impossible being, gliding from place to place… only to fall flat on her face walking on solid even ground. He fought to keep his look one of passivity, but she somehow caught on.

“Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh,” she growled and looked away from him. He smiled, glad to see she had a sense of humor about her shortcomings, and then glanced behind him as she saw her eyes widen with whatever she had seen. She broke contact, but he was fairly sure he had healed most of the damage from the fall in any case, so he cut off the energy flow easily and turned to follow her. She was staring out into space as though she had never seen it before, but the small shudder of her shoulders told him that the events of yesterday were clearly cemented in her memory. She looked dizzy for a moment, then turned to sit down; he remained standing, his gaze following hers around the lounge room of the Red-status pilots. Yet another place she was never supposed to have invaded. She glanced over at him and he stared back at her, waiting for her to explain herself.

Her words fumbled at first, her hands worrying themselves in her lap as she gazed down at them determinedly. He didn’t offer her any assistance. “Kiernan!” she suddenly yelled, her expression fierce, her hands in fists as she glared determinedly at him. He steeled himself, waiting for the inevitable fight – she was probably angry about earlier and had come to get an apology from him, but he wasn’t going to give it up that easily, especially if she were being a brat about it. She swapped suddenly, looking uncomfortable and embarrassed as she weakly stammered, “No, wait; that’s not – I – um,” her eyes left him as she took an obvious breath and put on a huge smile, “Would – do you want to take a seat?” she blurted out.
He tried to hide a chuckle. Eloquent, wasn’t she? He relaxed, her demeanor clearly uncomfortable and awkward despite any previous notion that princesses were anything but, and indulged her by striding over to the chair she had indicated and perching on the armrest. He crossed his arms comfortably and waited, not giving her any quarter. Her lips pursed as her eyes hardened, clearly not liking his choice of action, but her reaction only ensured that he would do it again, and as often as possible, to elicit that response. She was cute when she was annoyed. She suddenly folded herself up, crossing both arms and legs and looking decidedly away from him as she stated, “I apologize, okay? I’m sorry for following you and yelling at you and,” she paused, some of the stiffness dropping away, “and whatever else I did that made you mad. I just…” she glanced at him and then away again, focusing on something beside him and over his shoulder. She continued in the clearest mumble he had ever heard, “I wanted to thank you for yesterday and I didn’t know how to say it.”

He didn’t know what to say at first; he honestly hadn’t seen it coming, but suddenly some of her annoying actions made sense, especially if she wasn’t practiced in thanking anyone. Which would make sense given her status. …but, in any case, she had thanked him. And she seemed sincere. She looked almost nervous now, like she was afraid her apology hadn’t been enough. His lips turned up in a half-smile he couldn’t help as he replied, “Apology accepted.”

She looked incredulous, as though she couldn’t believe it had been that easy, and asked, “So you forgive me?”

He shrugged, feeling slightly uncomfortable with how intently and enthusiastically she was watching him. His eyes slid over her shoulder to watch the stars outside the window, preferring the dark expanse to her attentive silver gaze. It wasn’t anything huge – he accepted her apology, what else did she want? She had come to apologize, she had apologized, wasn’t it her cue to leave? As he waited for her to excuse herself he traced familiar constellations in the stars: Ursas Major and Minor slightly to the left, Cassiopeia and Cepheus, Draco, the weird and tiny “giraffe” constellation. His brows furrowed, why would they think that tiny group of stars was a giraffe, anyway? He could see the neck, but the neck could be the neck of anything; why a giraffe?

“So, are those famous astronauts?” she asked, drawing his attention away from the strange constellation. She looked friendly and interested.

What was she talking about? Famous astronauts? Her gaze flickered behind him and he turned his head to follow. “Yeah,” he answered, reminded suddenly of the group of photos behind him that surrounding the viewing screen. He had his favorites among the teams, but he didn’t think she really wanted to hear about them so he didn’t elaborate. He turned back to her to find her eyes roaming the room, her lip between her teeth. Suddenly she stood and strode purposefully over to the Earth-wall, her steps even yet exaggeratedly casual, making him immediately suspicious. She held her hands behind her back, clasping them like some of the teachers did when examining a report for mistakes. What was she up to? He stood and followed her, wondering if she were checking their map for faults; not that she would find any. This video feed had been taken from satellites and streamed in real-time; there could be no mistakes.

“It moves!” she exclaimed in surprise, jumping minutely but keeping her hands tightly behind her.

Was she making fun of them? Of course it moved. “Well, yeah,” he commented, willing to give her the benefit of the doubt for now. For good measure, as a response in case it were a hit against the Niven, he added, “We’re not exactly behind the times technologically.”

Glancing over he found her pursing her lips again, glaring at the screen, and he smiled. She was so easy to fluster. He didn’t know why he liked pestering her so much; it was definitely entertaining, but that didn’t completely explain the small feeling of satisfaction every time her cheeks glowed red or her eyebrows furrowed. And then she changed again, her head cocking to the side slightly as she stepped to the side, looking at the soft glow that lit the dark side of the globe. She paused, her hand reaching forward to hover above the surface of the screen, and said, quietly, “So Crystal Tokyo is sleeping right now, too.”

“Homesick already?” he commented; while he meant it to be a tease, the earnestness in her gaze took all the humor out of it. Reaching forward he pressed the bright cluster of lights that signified the Earth Capital City and immediately a video feed of a scenic view of the city popped up in a hologram above the wall; her eyes moved quickly, as if drinking in the view of the crystalline towers, her small smile making him feel nervous. Looking away from her, he gazed up at the screen, watching the city from an immense distance; the camera was in a tree on a hill overlooking the city, the branches of the tree swaying in and out of view, blocking the multicolored light reflected by the glass-like spires of the city. Colored in all shades of purple and blue, the crystalline city glowed softly like something from a dream.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she said at last, her words like a sigh as she reached even higher to point at the Palace. “I live there - that was my room. Well,” she chuckled, her attention fully engrossed in the image, “Somewhere in there. It’s so small from this view. But that was it – Mom and Dad lived on this level with Sandrine and Aemilia and them, and on this level was where our rooms were – me and my friends. There’s Zita and Tunis, Biera and Carestia - I wonder what they’re doing now?” she laughed again, her hand falling, “Probably sleeping.”

She kept watching for a few moments more, her mind elsewhere, until suddenly she came back to him. “Where did you live?” she asked, fixing him with her curious gaze.

He didn’t want to tell her at first. She had already taken this home, he almost wanted to keep his birthplace to himself, but her sincerity had him acting without thinking, and before he knew it he was pointing to his parent’s home in southern Ireland. There were no buttons to press, no cameras to activate; the country was still country there, with livestock and small cities and towns, certainly not enough people to create enough light to show up in Earth’s shadow.

“The English Isles!” he could hear the smile in her voice, “What is it like to live there? What’s your family like?”

And here is where the interview ends, Kiernan thought to himself as he turned away from the screen, walking easily back to the window to do as he had intended – stargaze. “Nothing special,” he stated with finality, leaning forward to stare outside, the palm of his hand pressed to the window and his forehead resting on the back of his wrist. He heard her soft footfalls on the carpet as she followed him, but rather than stand with him at the window, she took a seat without probing further into his answer. He was glad – he had no intention of telling her of his past. He didn’t need her pity. But as the silence stretched on he began to wonder if he had sounded too harsh… but then, so what if he had? Scowling at his faint reflection in the glass, his eyes moved to stare at the back of the little heart-shaped buns protruding from the reflection of the red leather couch; he owed her nothing. Her family was the enemy – it was their fault his parents were dead. They were usurpers who had over-stayed their welcome and he owed her no courtesy.

She remained quiet, and as the general feeling of the room became awkward, his scowl deepened. Did she expect an apology? Was this the ‘silent treatment’? Well, she wasn’t going to get a rise out of him. If she was going to play quiet, so was he. Moments passed, minutes ticking by on the analog clock mounted on the wall, and when he had had just about enough, he finally broke, turning on her, ready with a piece of his mind – only to find her sound asleep sitting straight up on the couch. He could only stare, his mouth agape, as he realized his mistake. How long had she been sleeping? How much energy had he wasted getting angry that she was angry when she had actually been unconscious?

Regardless, she couldn’t very well sleep there; the senshi would probably have a fit if the Princess failed to return to their apartment. So, taking a deep breath to let out his earlier frustration, he approached her, standing before her, and cleared his throat. There was no reaction. He tried again, but to no avail. Reaching forward hesitantly, he wondered if touching her again would give him another vision of her future, but, poking her upper arm in an attempt to wake her, nothing happened. No exploding planet, no screams, no dream-vision. He lightly clasped her shoulder and shook slightly, but still she slept, her head lolling slightly to the side. “Your Highness,” he addressed, speaking loudly in an attempt to stir her, but still she slept. “Your Highness, you cannot sleep here. Wake up.”

She hummed in response, and for a moment he took the sound as a sign of partial success on his part, but further prodding, shaking, and calling left him with the same result: she was asleep. Glancing up at the clock, he signed loudly and stepped forward, putting his knee on the couch beside her for support; he’d have to carry her. Gently he slipped one arm behind her back and the other beneath her knees and stood, supporting her in a similar fashion as the day before. Realizing the parallel, he grumbled as the door opened to emit them – how many times was he to do this? He stepped into the hallway and froze.

“Kiernan?” Kansas asked with bewilderment clear in his tone, the brunet pausing in the hallway heading towards them.

… This didn’t look good for him. Leaving a private room with an unconscious girl was something that should never happen. And that the girl was the Princess made it entirely and irrevocably inappropriate. Oh chibi what was he doing?! He should’ve gotten a teacher – Clayton, anyone. He could’ve explained the situation and –

“Bunny?” Kansas added, the quirked brow and odd look invoking a flurry of response.

“She fell asleep, okay?! She came in to apologize and she fell asleep – I didn’t do anything!” he blurted, putting a little more space between her and his chest; it made supporting her more awkward, but it was better than the alternative.

“I don’t know, man,” Kansas replied skeptically.

Kiernan’s face grew hot and he looked around for any place to put the Princess down, without luck. What would happen now? …. Well, the girl would wake up and back him up on this – he didn’t do anything.

“You’re kinda boring, I’m not surprised you put her to sleep.” Kansas finished, chuckling at his own stupid joke.

Panic receding, Kiernan scowled and approached him, stopping when he was close enough to offer her to Kansas. “You want to take her back?”

Kansas snickered, “And go through what you just did? No thanks; I’ll go with you though.”

“Gee, thanks,” Kiernan replied, readjusting her to walk easier, and struck off; the quicker he returned her to the Sailor Senshi, the better. And with that apology out of the way, he had no reason to believe she would bother him anymore. And that’s what he wanted, right?

… right.




Quote :
o.o it's been about a year. ... yup. ... Kiernan is up to date on this board, but I have no clue how far I've updated with Bunny on here xD I think I'm only a chapter behind ^^' But Bunny's POV is up on FFNet, while Kiernan's isn't; the full compilation of both can be found here, midway down the page

Thanks for reading!!

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Title : Oh, you mean you DON'T have an Elephabulous? Shame.
Posts : 13114
Join date : 2011-09-15
Age : 30
Location : NE Texas


PostSubject: Re: [Story] Unexpected Awakening   18th May 2013, 1:23 pm

Bunny walked carelessly beside Kansas, letting the older boy lead her to wherever they were going as she enjoyed the sights of the ship. Honestly, there wasn’t much to draw her attention, the hallway uniform but for its branches, with either connecting halls or doors periodically spaced along its circular length. What she watched instead was the trail of lights that seemed to travel the hall endlessly above their heads, curving with the slight curve of the ceiling, each a distinct color of the rainbow. These lines of light were together for a while, but branched off down hallways and disappeared, or were replaced by a different color; the path they took was lit by red, burnt orange, and light orange strands that raced along beside the white luminescent bulbs behind screens.

“What do they mean?” she asked at one point as the yellow beam arched down a hallway to their left, leaving the array of reds and oranges that travelled with them. As they passed the adjoining hall, she spied a short entrance hall to a group of classroom doors, each standing open and filled with students.

“Well,” Kansas started, glancing up at the ceiling, “each represents a different class group here at the Niven. See the red? That’s my group’s color – Red for senior pilot trainees. The dark orange is for the junior pilot trainees, and the light orange is for those who have just begun their pilot training. Yellow were for pilot hopefuls – did you see how it was blinking? That means that their class session is about to begin. Really, once your color starts blinking, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be late.” He laughed, and turned around. She glanced behind them, too, to see a girl running as fast as she could up the hallway, glancing up once before turning sharply to follow the yellow light.

“What happens when you’re late?” she asked curiously.

“It’s up to the instructor; I know the few times I was late I had to stay behind to clean the room afterwards. One time I had to stand for the duration of class – the whole hour and a half – and another time I had last pick and last rotation of the simulators,” he grimaced, “You learn to be on time.”

She giggled, “When I’m late they have me clean, too! … or stand in the corner with a bucket on my head.”

“A bucket?” he repeated with a chuckle.

“Yeah, I don’t know why, either.” He laughed, and she laughed along with him. “So,” she asked as they continued, “Are we going to your class?” Her heart fluttered nervously at the possibility, glancing up at the red light line above their heads.

“No way! I wouldn’t put you through that!” Kansas assured, “We don’t have anything scheduled tonight – it’s free roam. See, the lights will always lead to your classroom, if you have a class to go to at the time. We don’t have a class scheduled, so instead it’s leading any Red student to places we could further our studies or hone our skills unsupervised.”

Her hopes for the night started sinking, “Like a library?”

He glanced at her sidelong, “Oh… if you wanted to go to the library we could go there…” he offered hesitantly, his reticence towards the idea heartening.

“Nope! Libraries and I don’t get along well.” she assured cheerfully. “So, where are we heading?” The orange light overhead branched off one way, while the red and burnt orange continued on, but not for much farther. Up ahead both ended, turning sharply to a door to their left. They stopped outside the door and Kansas punched in a number into a silver keypad. The door swooshed open, and Bunny’s jaw dropped as they walked through. It was a videogame arcade, or something very much like it, with banks of lever-and-knob games and simulation rooms with high scores posted outside the door, giant tables set up with fully three-dimensional holographic strategy games and hand-eye-coordination enhancers.

“Oh! I completely forgot to ask!” Kansas exclaimed, glancing over at her with some concern, “Do you like video games? ‘Cause if you don’t there’s a cool lounge area not too far from—“

“Where do we start?” she replied as if not hearing him, marveling at the array as her feet took her to a brightly colored holographic display that read ‘START’. Without hesitation she reached out and touched the air as if pressing a button, and the game began. Lights, sounds, colors – this game had everything! It was like a three-dimensional version of whack-a-mole, relying on both rows, columns, and depth, except you didn’t chase and hit moles, but colors of the rainbow that corresponded to your current ability level. Kansas stood by, cheering her on as one hand, and then both, activated specific light sequences. The game got harder once it figured out she was using two hands – it had dual lights come on in various places and she had to divide her attention to hit just the right ones, and then the whole area was alive with a mess of color and she had to chase only the rotating squares. The rows grew taller and she glanced over at Kansas, “Can I jump on this?!”

He laughed, “Yeah, sure you can!” he cupped his hands in front of him and bent down for her, allowing her to use him as a step stool. She kicked off her shoes and used him to bounce up on top of the display, the light surrounding her now, and she punched and kicked at the now three rotating rectangles as they appeared and disappeared amongst the mess of lights, glad that her dress was free flowing from its empire waistline. Before long things had become too hectic – she couldn’t catch it anymore, it just seemed to be spinning her in circles. Laughing loudly at the impossibility of the task, she spun one final time, slipped, and fell off of the stand. Luckily for her, she somehow managed to land on her feet, but the few backward steps it took to steady herself had her collide with someone.

Hands took her shoulders gently to ground her and, still laughing at the display of lights that spelled out her score, she turned to see who it was that caught her. She tried to ignore the small feeling of embarrassment welling up in her gut, the trepidation at the thought that what she just did was certainly not considered Princess-like, and readied an apology in case it was one of the school’s teachers. But it wasn’t; instead it was the tall and calm-eyed Tetsuya who she had accidently ran into, and she stepped back and hurriedly offered a small bow for the inconvenience. “Sorry! Please excuse me!” she pleaded gustily.

He smiled, “No excuse necessary. You did rather well up there.” His blue eyes were kind, tinted with amusement – probably at her expense, but she really didn’t mind that anymore.

“You alright, Bunny?” Kansas asked, coming around the side of the machine.

“Oh yeah, yeah!” she said, waving her hands as if trying to brush his concerns away. “What next?”

She jumped from machine to machine, mashing buttons and figuring out combos in character-based fighting games; nearly two hours went by in a flash. But just as her character finished punching and kicking his way to victory in a classing fighting game – ‘speed coordination training game’ – Kansas gasped appreciatively. She smiled and put her hands on her hips happily as her character danced, but a glance towards him deflated her in a second – he hadn’t gasped at her, but instead at the giant holographic game board near the back-center of the room that had been lit up since they first arrived. She peered around him to look at it, glancing at a rotating scale at the top of the display that was tipped almost completely in one direction, and asked, “What is it?”

“Looks like someone’s about to win,” Kansas replied enthusiastically.

“Win what?” she asked, following him as he approached the giant display. One of Kiernan’s friends – Faxon? – was playing on the side nearest to them, but with the display so huge and vibrant she couldn’t tell whom he was playing against. There were several layers to the game; first, a rotating globe near the scale that was shaded different colors, then a series of views of what looked like outposts with little men running around and hiding or shooting at other little men. Faxon’s gaze went from screen to screen, his fingers flying through a complicated-looking command board as he made anxious little noises every now and again. She tried to follow along with the action, but if she had to bet money on things, Faxon was losing. She understood that he was the blue side… and there weren’t very many blue people on the screens. Or blue flags. “Is it capture the flag?” she guessed, watching as Faxon tried an attempt at winning back a fort that recently turned red.

“Something like that,” Kansas replied.

“Hmm…” she considered, then looked over at him, “How hard is it to play?”

“Uh…” he considered, still engrossed in the battle, “I guess it depends on your background. The controls can be daunting to a newbie; my first game lasted only minutes, and that was against a computer. I was absolutely slaughtered!” he laughed, “but if you wanted to give it a go I could try teaching you.”

She considered, “How long does a game usually last?” The blue forts were being taken over at an alarming rate now, with little blue people dwindling. The scales up above were tipped completely in the red’s favor.

“It depends on who’s playing, honestly, and what the goal is. Games can last from minutes to hours – these guys have been playing longer than we’ve been in here, if that gives you any idea.” He chuckled, then pumped his fist in the air, cheering on the victor as the hologram switched views to show the last battle, blown up to huge proportions.

Bunny watched, a little in awe of how long the game had taken, as Faxon took up a smaller hand-held controller as his last blue guy fought for his life. It became like a fighting game then, one-on-one, and the amount of acrobatics and martial arts skills the little people did was dizzying; while part of her rooted for Faxon’s little guy, being the last of his people and the underdog and all, she couldn’t help but admire the red guy’s moves. He was everywhere! He finally won, knocking the blue guy to the ground and pinning him there, the weapon trained on him, and Faxon put his controller down, signifying defeat.

She clapped with Kansas for the victor as red fireworks took over the display, the world melting away as a name was outlined in the sparkling simulated light: KIERNAN. Her hands slowed, eyebrows knitting together as she realized whom she was cheering for, but then quickly sped up again at double the pace of before. Kiernan had won, after a battle lasting more than two hours, and he had won with a good number of units left, having taken over all bases and finding some sort of “relic” item – or so the score board said. He did a really good job! And, maybe, cheering for him would somehow count towards an apology for earlier.

The screen faded completely, revealing his tall form standing at the controls opposite, one fist pumped in the air triumphantly, and she cheered louder for him, even when his blue eyes stared at her in shock. He glanced from them to Faxon and Tetsuya, then back to her, and she stopped clapping to smile at him nonthreateningly, but apparently she had done something wrong in any case. He went around the table opposite their side and went straight through the doors leading out.

She sighed gustily, her bangs flaring with the sudden breeze, and turned to Kansas, “Thanks for the games, Kansas, but I’d better go.”

“Oh,” he replied with some confusion, “Would you like me to walk you back to—“

She smiled, interrupting him as she started towards the door, “That’s okay! It’s just one giant circle, right? I’ll find my way back. I’ll see you tomorrow at breakfast!” The doors opened at her approach, “Thanks again!” she waved as they shut after her, cutting the game center away. She paused to take another deep breath, glancing in either direction to find out which way Kiernan had gone, and caught sight of him heading right, away from the red lights on the ceiling.

She started after him quietly, thinking he would probably dash off if he knew she was following him. As she walked, barefoot on tip toe, she grimaced at the occasional sound of her dress against the carpeted floor, at once realizing that she had left her shoes by the first machine and wondering if the soft click of high heels on carpet would be quieter or louder than the sound of her dress. In any case, she wasn’t going back for them – there was no doubt that if she went back to grab them, Kiernan would disappear completely into the ship and she’d never find him. Up ahead he turned down a hall and she froze, wondering if he spied her out of the corner of his eye, but as he didn’t double back and yell at her, she figured he was still unaware, if out of sight. Hiking up her voluminous skirts in both hands, she dashed forward quietly to the aisle and put her back to the wall, peering over the corner to see where he went. He was turning another corner; as soon as he had, she rushed forward yet again to peer around that way and found him punching an ID code into the panel beside a red-lined door.

She knew what she had to do.

She pulled her skirts closer and higher, so that the bottom brushed against her knees, pulled her hair forward over one shoulder, and quietly caught her breath, the number panel beeping in monotone with each of the digit inputs. As she heard the door swoosh open, she tensed, readying herself to dash in as soon as he stepped through, and only then considered the possibility that she could be running into his bedroom or the men’s bathroom or another equally embarrassing place for a girl. But he was stepping through, so there was no time to really think about it – she sprang forward after him, her legs pushing her forward unsteadily. The first step was wobbly, the second awkward, the third had one foot caught behind her other leg and suddenly she was falling. “Eeeh!” she squeaked meekly as her balance fully gave way and she was rushing face-first into the room past the door.

She dropped her skirts in an attempt to use her arms to break her fall, but the fingers of her right hand caught her hair and pulled, trapping them in her long pigtails, and she fell unevenly. She squeezed her eyes shut and turned her face away, bracing for impact, but suddenly her outstretched left hand and her entangled right hand were caught and held firmly, stopping her forward fall. While her knees buckled and fell hard on the ground, jarring her, she opened her eyes and followed the hands holding hers up his grey and red uniform to his face. He looked shocked and concerned, his blue eyes wide and anxious staring down at her, and looking at them she knew she had been right. This was the real Kiernan, a person who reached out to help when he could have easily and blamelessly let her fall, not at all like that guy who yelled at her and made her angry. As his expression started to change, an eyebrow quirking and the concern disappearing from his eyes, she smiled up at him through her embarrassment.

He pulled her up to her feet and the door finally closed behind them, but he didn’t let go of her hands immediately. His tone incredulous and deadpan, he asked “Did you really just follow me all the way from the game room?”

“Uh,” she breathed, not quite knowing what to say,“…yeah, but - ”

“… and then tripped over your own feet trying to race through the door?” his eyes flickered from hers to the door behind her, and all she could do was nod feebly.

He stared at her and she stared back at him, wondering if he would become angry or irritated again, but then she spied the sides of his mouth twitching as if he was holding back a smile. She broke away from him and crossed her arms, looking off to the side and tapping her foot in imitated frustration. “Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh,” she growled, giving him her leave to laugh freely at her clumsiness; she’d seen it before – people wanting to laugh but feeling unable to because of who she was – and it was always better and friendlier after they laughed about her inelegance. … but looking away from him let her see the rest of the room, and in her awe she dropped her arms and took a few steps forward, looking out into space.

The entire flat wall was a window, giving her views of nothing but the stars above them. Her mouth fell open at the sheer dark black, then closed quickly as she shuddered, recalling the sensation of emptiness and loneliness from the previous day. There was no sun in the image anywhere, nor were there asteroids, or brighter stars of planets; but then, as she thought about the layout of the Niven and what she had seen from when she was out there the day before, she realized that the window she was looking through actually peered up, out of the plane of the solar system, and she got the uncomfortable, undeniable sensation of being off balance, as though she would fall again. She was standing on the wall looking up through the ceiling – she reached down and found the arm of a plush couch and quickly sunk into it, tearing her eyes away from the confusing scene and focusing only on the room to reorient herself.

It was a lounge, not too big, but not small, either; set up with red leather couches and armchairs in an array that encouraged conversation. One wall was the huge window; the opposite held pictures of previous pilot crews and a large display for what could be television. One connecting wall held a large picture of Earth suspended in space, the other had the door. Kiernan stood near to where he was, but now closer to the window, as if he had been looking out with her, but now those blue eyes were on her again, his expression guarded, waiting for her to speak first.

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[Story] Unexpected Awakening

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