The complex lay buried under the streets of Tokyo. It was old, ancient when history was first recorded and built by a race who had been old when life on Earth was but microbes in its seas.
It's interior was dark and quiet. The great reactor at its heart was barely active, putting out just enough power to maintain the stasis fields and standby systems.
One fine Tuesday, in the control room, panels began to light up as the central computer came online, stasis fields spinning down. This was no automated systems check, for the standby systems had detected an alarm. The central computer began to sift through information as it stabbed out fingers of data. Out in space, other computers, much like it, stirred and muttered sleepily back.
The central computer considered the data presented to it. There had been other alarms in the past, systems breaking down, or a meteor strike taking out some part of the great network it governed. But this was different. Had it been part of its programming, it might have panicked a bit, for this was what it had been put in place against. But instead, it simply consulted its protocols, and then called up the correct systems and selected the appropriate menu.
Life support systems now came online, more stasis fields powering down and in their berths, biomechanical life stirred and growled.
Finally, in central control, the wall parted, revealing a coldsleep capsule which hissed as it brought its occupant back to full wakefulness. Medical sensors scanned the occupant, updating their files as blood once more began to move through the flesh and brain activity came up. Satisfied, the capsule opened as clothing was removed from stasis and presented to him.
Artemis, High Mage of the Silver Imperium, gasped as he staggered out of the capsule, clutching at the robe and then fell to his knees, retching as coldsleep sickness hit him.
"I hate that," he muttered as he wiped his mouth. He did not stay there, High Mages did not achieve their rank by submitting to weakness of flesh and he stood, pulling on the proffered robe. and walking purposefully to the central console. It was a circular in shape, with a crystal orb on one side. However, Artemis faced away from it, towards the back of the room as a hologram flickered to life. It was a woman's face. She had a pointed chin, an aquiline nose, and full lips. Her eyes were of crystal blue and she wore her hair in two ponytails that dangled from either side of her head. It was a face of someone who got what they wanted, but yet, there was also a sense of gentleness and kindness.
Artemis bowed. "Serenity." he said reverently.
"Mage Artemis," she replied. "What is it?"
"Checking now." Turning to the console, he demanded information. "Ai yi yi yi," he groaned, hands on his head. "Serenity, it's Beryl. She's escaped!"
Serenity's eyes hardened. "So be it. Artemis, find and recruit the appropriate souls."
"Teenagers with attitudes, perhaps?" Artemis suggested. Serenity glared at him, but her lips twitched.
"Tempting," she replied after a moment, "but no. You know what we need."
Artemis nodded and began to manipulate controls.
Beryl smiled as she walked into her palace. Hers by right. Was she not smarter, better looking, older? But no, their idiot father had given the throne to Serenity. Even Beryl putting a knife to his throat hadn't swayed him. And then it had slipped. Oops. But still, Serenity had taken the throne.
Just thinking the name sent bile into Beryl's throat. Serenity. Oh how she loathed that blonde little idiot.
But now things had changed. Beryl was in charge and things were going to be different. She had a plan, oh yes. And better still, one of Serenity's pets. Geas' were wonderful things.
She turned to the catwoman with glowing red eyes. "Luna, my friend. I have a job for you."
On the surface, at the Osaka-P juice bar, Usagi Tsukino was thinking about punching Rei Hino in her pretty mouth. This was surprising to no one since Rei and Usagi had hated each other on sight as children and it had just gotten worse as they got older. They lived next door to each other, went to the same schools, and saw each other constantly. Worse still, they were cousins and their parents didn't seem to understand just how much the girls hated each other.
However, as much as punching Rei appealed to her, Usagi was not about to endure parental wrath. Instead, pointedly ignoring Rei, she sucked on the straw of her smoothie and thought longingly of High School, just a year away. Usagi would be going to Juuban High, and Rei to Montrose Academy. This was deliberate. Usagi had purposefully failed Montrose's entrance exam and her parents were not well-connected enough to get the school to bend its rules and take her anyway.
There was a re-test, but she intended to fail that too. Juuban was a perfectly good school. It was within walking distance of home, the uniforms were cute, and most importantly, it was Rei free.
Rei free. Yup, that was her new favorite phrase.
"You know, Usagi," Rei leaned over her and Usagi scowled. "All those Brain Freeze Smoothies can't be good for you. Maybe that's why you failed the entrance exam." Minako, Rei's ever present shadow, snickered.
Usagi briefly considered bashing in Rei's pert nose and then thought better of it. 'Parental Wrath', she reminded herself. 'Parental Wrath, parental wrath, parental wrath.'
Instead, she picked up her smoothie and nodded to Makoto, who was laconically sipping tea nearby. With a shrug, the taller girl got to her feet and they walked out.
Rei, however, wasn't going to be so put off and followed.
There was a short hallway with a ninety degree turn between the bar and the outer door. No one in the bar could see past the bend and as they turned the corner, Rei tried again.
"Or maybe it isn't the smoothies," Rei pondered. "Could be you're just a twit."
Usagi stopped and sternly reminded herself of parental wrath. None of the four girls noticed the pale, blue haired shadow entering the hall and stopping dead at the sight before her.
"No," Rei continued thoughtfully. "Twits get things done. You, on the other hand, stuff your face and read magna all day. Amazes me you're not a big round ball of fat with meatballs on her head."
That did it. Usagi dropped her drink and grabbed Rei's blouse as she brought her other hand back to punch Rei's teeth in, parental wrath be damned.
The world went white.
"This aint the Osaka-P," Makoto observed without a hint of surprise. But then, nothing ever seemed to rattle Makoto.
The Quartet turned and regarded the man facing them. He was clad in black robes. His long white hair was braided and he had an almost catlike face.
"What the hell?" Rei demanded.
"I apologize for the abruptness of your summons, but there was no other choice. I am Artemis of the High Mages of the Silver Imperium and we are in need of your help."
"This is kidnapping!" If Makoto was laid back, Minako was just the opposite. "Kidnapping, and imprisonment! Assault!"
They looked up at the hologram. "I am Queen Serenity of the Silver Imperium. You five--"
"There's four of us," Rei interrupted.
"Naw, there's five," Makoto drawled and pointed with her thumb.
Rei, Minako, and Usagi peered around Makoto and looked at the pale-faced, blue-haired girl with wide eyes who stood there, clutching a bag full of books to her chest like a shield.
"H-hello," she stammered.
"Who the hell are you?" Rei demanded.
"A-a-a-Ami M-mizuno," she gulped. "I-i-i-i-"
"Whatever," Rei said dismissively and looked at Artemis. "Send me back right now!"
"You mean, us," Usagi interrupted.
"No, I mean me."
"And me!" Minako put in.
"And Minako," Rei amended.
"Can't be without your yes man, huh?" Usagi snorted.
As the argument began to escalate, Makoto sauntered over to Artemis, who, along with Serenity, was staring at the scene in bafflement.
"They'll run out of voice sooner or later," she said and leaned on the console.
"You don't seem very alarmed," Artemis noted.
"Nothin's too important to get upset over," Makoto replied.
"End of the world?"
"Everything ends, man."
Serenity's lips twitched. "Quite so. However, I am of the belief that ending worlds should be prevented if at all possible. An evil sorceress named Beryl, imprisoned eons ago, has escaped. I am trapped in a time warp and cannot face her directly. I need your help. Act as my agents, stop Beryl before its too late. I will give you weapons and powers that will help you fight her."
"I-i'll do it." Ami was standing just behind Makoto. "I-i'll fight Beryl."
Makoto shrugged. "Sounds awesome."
"Will they stop soon?" Artemis asked, looking at Usagi, Minako and Rei. "We need all five of you."
Makoto shrugged. "Nah, seen 'em go for hours."
Artemis heaved a sigh. "Great."
Surprisingly, it was Ami who finally lost it, chucking a textbook at the trio and screaming at them until she realized what she was doing, had a panic attack, and had to hyperventilate into a paper bag.
"Always the quiet ones, man," Makoto observed and looked at Artemis. "Got any twos?"
"Are you out of your mind, Kino?" Rei screamed. "He kidnaps us and you're playing cards?"
Makoto shrugged. "I like cards."
"AHEM!" Everyone looked at Serenity. "Now, as Artemis was saying, we need your help. Earth is about to come under attack. I am imprisoned and Artemis cannot face them alone. We need all five of you. Makoto and Ami have already agreed."
"No way," Rei said.
"Nuh-huh," Minako agreed.
"Please," Serenity said. "I can give you weapons and powers to fight the invasion. If you do nothing, Earth will be conquered and destroyed."
Usagi's lips compressed into a thin line. "I'm in." She glared at Rei, "Unlike Hinos, we Tsukino's are always there to defend."
Rei's mouth opened and shut as a lifetime of upstaging her cousin warred with her fear. Fear lost. "And you always mess it up. I'll do it, just so I can see you fail."
"Me too!" Minako crowed and then leaned over Rei's shoulder. "What are we doing?"
"Excellent!" Serenity approved. "Artemis, fetch the morphing wands."
Artemis retrieved a case from a cabinet. Inside were six smaller boxes, each a different color. Artemis took the black one, which glowed when he touched it.
"Each case will react to the person whose nature matches the powers of the wand," Serenity told them.
There was some fumbling around until everyone got the correct box. Minako had yellow, Makoto was green and Ami was blue. Usagi's was white, and Rei was red.
"Good," Serenity nodded. "Take the wand out. The activation phrase varies for each of you. For example, Makoto's is 'Sailor Senshi Green, make-up'. Keep them on you at all times. The bracelet inside the box is a communicator. Use it to keep in touch with each other and with me. Now, I will send you back to the surface. Artemis will be your leader in battle. When the time comes, be ready, my Mighty Morphin Sailor Senshi." They nodded and Artemis teleported them back.
"My Queen, I . . ." he said when the girls were gone.
"I know, Artemis. But had I told them that the White Senshi was the leader, their reaction would have been . . . counterproductive."
"As always, my queen, I am awed by your wisdom." Artemis bowed.
"Just so," she agreed.
1) I woke up with this in my head.
2) I know Minako's color is orange, but whoever heard of an Orange Power Ranger?
3) . . . Actually, I'd like to see an Orange Power Ranger, come to think of it.