[FANFIC] Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Orion 408

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LeVar Bouyer

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May 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM5/20/99
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(Rating: R)

Four is twice than eight. I have a headache, so that's the
best I can manage today.


================================================
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Orion
A relatively original fanfic by LeVar Bouyer
Episode 408: I Had a Little Help from my Friends
================================================


*** [title sequence] ***

One of the more interesting features of Nagano-2's underground
headquarters was the shower room. Wide and spacious, it had been a
holdover from previous plans to make Valhalla just an ordinary bomb
shelter. It boasted three dozen shower heads and enough square meters
to have a nice game of field hockey. It was the perfect place for two
senshi to wash up after a hard day of work defeating an alien.

It also boasted an "under construction" sign: it was being
converted into storage space. Thus Sailors Orion and America, after
debriefing a few floors above in a conference room, had to go to a small
secondary shower room.

The room was small, with half a dozen narrow stalls which barely
had room for one person, let alone two. Jen found herself constantly
bumping her elbows into the walls of the enclosure. From the sounds
Eileen was making to her left, it seemed that she was having trouble
adjusting too.

"You know," said Eileen, taking a moment from her attempts to
clean herself to just stand under the steady stream of water and relax,
"if all our enemies were this easy to pick off, being a senshi wouldn't
be bad at all."

"Hai, hai," replied Jen. Blindly she reached for a bottle of
shampoo. "Much more fun, too, I think."

They both winced as the water temperature momentarily surged and
then returned to normal. "Remind me to complain about the plumbing,"
said Eileen, checking herself to make sure she hadn't been scalded
anywhere. "That's the third time that's happened since we got in here."

"Well, maybe-" The lights went out, and the water stopped.
Neither moved for a moment in the pitch blackness; the only sound was
the dripping of water from hair, bodies, shower heads, and the
breathing of the two women.

"What was that?" asked Jen.

"I don't know," replied Eileen uncertainly. Turning slowly, she
went to where she thought the door to the stall should be and reached
for the theoretical position of the handle.

She found it. From the creaking of the door next to her she knew
Jen was out too.

"Should we towel off?"

"Do we have that kind of time?" warned Jen. "We don't know what
caused this."

"It could have been a simple accident," Eileen offered, sounding
more like she was trying to convince herself of it. They both knew that
the emergency lights should have clicked on as well.

"We can't afford to take that chance," was the response. And to
that there could be only one other response. Still dripping wet, the
two senshi performed their magic.

"America Crystal Power, Make Up!"

"Orion Crystal Power, Make Up!" For a brief moment, the shower
room was bright as noonday as a flash of light heralded the
transformations of Hinansho's two sailor senshi.

"Now, what next?" asked America, wondering if her high heels were
waterproof and skid-resistant.

"Can you give us some light?"

"I can try." Concentrating on her power for a moment, she tried
to summon a single star from her attack. After a few brief flickers, it
worked: a single point of light, much too bright to look at directly,
appeared in America's hands, lighting up the entire room. As she and
Orion cautiously walked towards the door, both wondered what could have
happened.

The hallway wasn't any brighter; only half of the battery-operated
emergency lights were on. They proceeded on down the halls, not meeting
anyone else. Orion stopped at a red-painted storage locket that was at
floor level and knelt down to open it.

"What is it?"

Sailor Orion rummaged around a bit, the various contents of the
locker rattling loudly. Finally, she stood triumphantly and slapped a
metal cylinder in America's gloved hand.

"Flashlights," she said, beaming.

A moment later two beams of light cut through the darkness of the
subterranean base, which was still silent as a tomb. Orion couldn't
even hear the murmur of the air conditioning units. At one point she
thought she heard footsteps from the level above, but couldn't be sure.

As they reached a stairwell that would take them to Valhalla, the
lights flickered on once, then twice, and then stayed on.

"Took long enough," muttered America. They nearly ran down the
four flights of stairs, impatiently running their ID cards through the
security checkpoints. Ordinarily the computers would recognize their
fuku and let them in without having to use the cards, but apparently
they hadn't finished initializing.

The actual doors of Valhalla were very plain in comparison to its
purpose. Simple steel doors three centimeters thick guarded the main
control center; anyone who came this far wasn't going to be deterred by
a door, no matter how thick. And how many people that determined would
try to invade a humble colony world?

The doors weren't even locked. Orion simply turned a handle and
walked right into chaos. Seemingly every person in the room wanted
either her or America's attention, and wanted it right there and then.

"Allow me, Jen," whispered America into Orion's ear. The brown
haired senshi stepped forward into the crowd and shouted. "QUIET!"
They fell silent, and Orion's calm voice cut through the tension.

"Sammy, status report. What the hell caused that power failure?"

"We're still trying to trace the source. It was probably
Antares!"

Sailor Orion had no response for that. Nagano-2 was powered by
two fusion plants, each on opposite ends of the city. The two were
capable of providing for the power needs of the entire northern
hemisphere in an emergency. Granted, that wasn't much, considering how
lightly populated the entire planet was, but still, this sort of
emergency was just the reason why there were two. What could have
happened to use that much energy?

"Confirmed," said a voice that rang out throughout the room. The
senshi glanced up to one of the screens, which showed a short looking
man in a heavy orange survival coat. From his breath which condensed in
the air before him, Orion guessed him to be with Antares. "We did it."

"How?" asked America simply.

"We got a signal from one of the watch stations, thought it might
be another attack. So we...we tried to boot Antares into full battle
readiness." What looked like a scowl crossed his face, though it could
easily be an involuntary shiver. It was a good ten or so degrees below
freezing there, after all. "He wasn't ready. Went into some kind of
feedback loop and ended up trying to pull all the power from the
planetary grid.

"The dampening systems managed to stop the surge before the core
or peripheries were damaged...but a *lot* of capacitors blew out. Two
of our people died from shrapnel injuries.

"Antares is undamaged, yes. Tactically, however, he's useless
until we've had time to run more tests, or barring a miracle. He's
capable of some self-repair, mind you."

"That's all I needed to know," replied Orion quickly. Antares was
essentially useless for now, but they at least had power.

She and America were also going on no rest at all. It had been
just five hours since the last enemy was defeated, and now it seemed
very likely that they'd have to go at it again. Orion took a deep
breath and tried to calm down.

"Do we have any sort of clues about what it is?"

"Just two transient signals from one of the southern telescopes,
and a very faint radar blip that disappeared as soon as it was detected."

Orion thought it over for all of one second. "Order the
evacuation of Nagano-2 and the mobilization of the armed forces."

"Sir," protested Kim from her seat, "half the residents are still
returning from the shelters, and-"

"-they'll have to go right back," answered Orion. "We're on alert
as of now." She inwardly growled: the clocks read 01:33, and she didn't
relish the thought of sending parents and children heading for the
shelters again at this hour.

"No, belay that. They can go back to their homes, just make sure
they stay there!"

"Y-yes sir!" Kim and the rest of the staff were surprised by this
reversal, but immediately moved to put it into place.

***

Far out over the ocean that lay to the south of Nagano-2, a titan
slowly emerged from the murky waves, lit only by the faint light of the
stars and one of Hinansho's moons. After a pause, it began to glide
north. Very very fast. The sonic boom it created disturbed fish near
the surface, and for a week afterwards fishermen found themselves
catching less than their share of fish.

Meanwhile, the champion drew closer to the site of combat.

***

"Infrared detectors have been tripped," called out Vanessa.
"Seems to be coming in from the ocean, intercept point Kenson Beach in
fifty seconds."

"Right, we need as much artillery as we can get between Kenson
and Nagano. Kim, get on it."

"Aye aye," replied the short black-haired woman, dashing off to
give orders. Orion turned to her lover. "That artillery isn't going to
do the trick. We're going to have to go topside again."

"Again?" asked Sailor America in disbelief. "We just got finished
with one of them."

"Consider it a warm-up," said Orion, trying to soften the impact.
"We'll get back with plenty of time for breakfast."

"I hope so," said America reluctantly.

"Sammy, you're in charge!" called out Orion as the two senshi made
their way to the express elevators.

The blonde looked up from her computer console, surprised. "Why
not Vanessa?" It was Vanessa's turn in the rotation.

"Just a hunch."

***

"Senshi arriving at contact zone," reported Kim. The external
sensors were almost at 100% again after the earlier power failure, and
showed their adversary.

A long, pregnant pause.

"That," said Sammy slowly, "is a very big youma." No-one bothered
correcting her; they all knew spectral scans denied the possibility of
it being a true youma. It was definitely big. Once again humanoid,
except with arms twice as long as would be proportional, with a total
height of nearly six meters.

It gangled.

"Sailor Orion," continued Sammy, "we have a visual on Sierra-4.
It's a humanoid life form approximately six meters in height, moving due
east at two meters per second. Do you copy?"

Orion's voice came through the speakers with a bit of noise.
"Hai. Can't see the thing yet, though." 'Six meters?' she asked
herself in disbelief. How in heaven were they supposed to beat
something the size of a small building?

***

Overhead, the sky exploded. On Sammy's orders, dozens of flare
guns were constantly fired into the air, with the goal of illuminating
the area for the two senshi. It was another three hours to sunrise,
factoring in Hinansho's shorter night.

Under the strobe-lit sky Orion and America crept forward, eyeing
the shape in the distance. From three hundred meters away it looked
more like a house than an antiseptic sierra (the only name they had to
give it aside from 'monster').

"Should we take it here?"

A note of impulsiveness crept into Orion's voice. "No, I have a
better idea." A surge of confidence building from their previous
success, she unsheathed her sword and brandished it, running headlong
towards the thing. "I'll take the top!"

America nodded and ran afterwards. "I've got his legs!"

At fifty meters, the thing finally took notice of them. Slowly it
turned, and as it did the senshi could see that its eyes burned with a
cold, distant light.

Sailor Orion didn't plan on looking at it for long.

"Orion Saber Disruption!" cried Sailor Orion, aiming for its arms
and torso.

"American Stars and Stripes!" shouted Sailor America, going for
its legs.

Both attacks hit dead on. For a moment the stars and stripes
blinded the two, and it was a few seconds before they could see their
impact. Direct hits: the beast lay immobile on the ground.

"Yatta!" crowed the brunette. "Two for two!"

"RRRRAAAAAWWWWWRRRRRR!" The two leapt back, half in fright, half
in surprise. The formerly vanquished champion lumbered to its feet...or
foot. One leg had been blown off by America's attack, and its left arm
and shoulder lay in a puddle on the ground. As they watched, though,
the leg began to regenerate rapidly.

"Run," was all Orion said. The two senshi turned and sprinted
back towards the city at full speed. For a senshi, this was an
impressive speed indeed; any senshi could sprint faster than any normal
human, and maintain that speed for kilometers at a time. In ten seconds
they were up to nearly fifty kilometers per hour, their feet scarcely
feeling the heat due to magical interference.

The beast lumbered behind them, but slowly and clumsily. The
senshi were far away in no time at all.

***

"Sailors Orion and America are falling back, Sammy!"

"I know!" shouted back the blonde at Kim. On the map, the two
blue dots that denoted the sailors were moving back towards the city,
while the single red dot of Sierra-4 followed at a much slower, almost
imperceptible rate.

"ETA?"

"Two minutes for the senshi, closer to seven or eight for Sierra-
4."

Sammy clenched her fists. 'Dammit.' "Call up Unit 5," she said
quickly, pointing to a lime green dot to the north of the chase.
"They're to fire everything they have at that thing and slow it down as
much as possible, okay?"

"Aye aye," replied Kim, who had already had the orders ready. The
Fifth Unit of the Planetary Defense Force, fifty troops strong, with
surface to surface rockets, rifles, and a few land mines at its
disposal, had been waiting to move, needing only the signal to go.

"Vanessa," continued Sammy, "notify project G that they're needed
now."

Vanessa's eyes widened. "Sir, the council expressly-"

"Do it Vanessa!" said Sammy testily.

The brunette shook her head slowly, but got to work on it anyway.

"Oh, and Vanessa?"

"Hai?"

Sammy bowed her blonde head for a second. "If...when the council
asks, I'll take full responsibility. You were following my orders,
nothing more."

Vanessa paused in the middle of her tasks to turn around and face
Sammy, but Sammy had turned to face the wall, hiding her emotions behind
the mask of duty. A tear caught in Vanessa's eye; they'd all been there
before, the three, they all knew what it was like to be in the big chair
and make the decisions.

It was times like these she was glad not to be a senshi.

She adjusted her microphone. "Project G leader, this is command.
Mobilize and stand by for further orders."

***

Orion and America didn't look back at the explosions and flames
that occurred behind them. They were too busy running in terror.

"What now?" gasped America. They flew through a small suburb.
Orion had just enough time to see some of the doors were still open, the
lights still on in the houses. The town had been evacuated in a hurry.

"We keep running," replied Orion, sucking in great gulps of air.
"Hopefully...the cavalry...can slow it down...long enough for...us
to...think of...something!"

The two reached the crest of a hill and paused...or at least tried
to. Super speed was a clear advantage, of course, but it didn't come
with enhanced stopping abilities either. The best they could manage was
a sort of graceful tumble.

Coming to a stop, they turned to face the behemoth. The flare
guns were still being fired, so they could see the vague shape of
Sierra-4. It slowly lumbered closer, unfazed by constant weapons fire.
Two kilometers distant, it stopped and turned towards the north.

Sailors Orion and America turned and watched as it meandered away,
parallel to the city limits. For the second time since the battle had
begun, they were stunned.

"Do we chase it?" asked America.

"Are you kidding? We report in first, *then* we chase it!"

"Why?"

Orion slumped her shoulders and sighed as she reached for her
communicator. "Because after that I have no idea what we'll do." She
punched a button. "Valhalla, this is Orion, status?"

"We read Sierra-4 as moving north-northeast at a couple meters per
second," replied Kim.

Mentally Orion pulled up a map of the city, and overlaid its and
their position. After looking at a street sign, she could see that she
was now outside the northeast corner of the city.

"It's going to Antares, isn't it?"

"That's the projected course, sir."

"Right. Evacuate the complex up there and close it up tight."

A voice she hadn't heard in years cut into the conversation. "I
wouldn't recommend that, Jenny. I can take care of myself, but I'd much
rather have my staff."

"Antares? I thought you were down!" The senshi was too
surprised to take offense at the diminuative name.

"You thought wrong." A long pause. "I'm not yet at 100%, but
this will have to do for now. The tech crew is working as hard as they
can...but you have other things to worry about. You have a gertie
arriving in about one minute, rendezvous point the 33rd street bridge
over the loop."

"Whoa now, what are you saying?" A gertie? It took forever to
make one of those. They couldn't have made one on such short
notice...could they?

"A gestalt device," explained Antares patiently, "just like on
Pleiades. Granted, this one has a lower theoretical yield, and lower
power requirements, and is slightly smaller since it has to be
portable-"

"You've built one!" Orion was shocked.

"No, the physics department of the university built one."

"I didn't know they knew how."

"They didn't. I told them the basics and provided a couple
examples of how previous models were built. I also told them that each
device needs to be calibrated individually, and of the risks involved in
activating one without proper testing."

Orion nodded to herself, still surprised that her old 'friend,' so
to speak, was alive again. "But they went ahead and did it anyway."

"ETA to my location one half hour. I don't think there's any
other choice."

She was forced to agree. "So, do you think it'll work?"

"Best case scenario, 44.6% chance of success. Worst case, 0%."

"That's what I always missed about you. Your encouraging 'can do'
attitude."

"I try my best," replied the computer warmly. Orion smirked.

"Is this thing for one person or two?" asked America into her own
communicator.

"Two is what it was built for. Whether or not it'll work is a
crapshoot."

"That works, then," said Orion with a shrug. She didn't have any
better ideas.

***

"This is *not* going to work," said America, shaking her head.

"There comes a time," mused Orion, looking over the small
controller she held in her hands, "when you have to take a leap of
faith, and hope that the people and equipment behind you are prepared
properly."

"And this is one of those times?"

"Hai."

"How many do we have left, so I know to be out of town for them?"

"Ha ha," replied Orion.

The parking lot they stood in was deserted, pools of yellow light
from the lampposts spotting the black asphalt. The shopping center
itself was dark and silent: the power usually feeding it had been
diverted to the Gertie that sat in a truck which was the only vehicle in
the lot. Four technicians had been sent along with the truck, all of
whom looked like they had gone without sleep for a couple of days. The
brightest of them seemed to be surviving only by munching on candy bars.

"You arm it using this switch," said the tech, munching on a bar
and pointing with his free hand. "Then, you just do your thing. Only
thing you have to remember is that you can *not* let go of it until
you're finished with the attack."

"What happens if I do?" America asked belligerently.

The tech took a moment to remove the bar from his mouth, then made
a gesture with both his hands. "Boom. Whole thing explodes, as far as
we can tell from the sims. Then again, this whole thing is so jury-
rigged we'll be lucky if we don't get blown up trying to turn on the
damn thing!"

"Have I mentioned," said America testily, "how much pride and
trust I have in you and your team?"

"We built this damn thing in two days, *sir*, it's the best we can
*do*!" He stared down the senshi with wide eyes, the now-forgotten
candy bar fallen to the ground.

The brunette backed away. "Okay, I'm sorry then." She made a
note to talk to whoever was in charge of this operation. That much
stress couldn't be healthy.

"Here he comes," said Orion quietly, or tiredly...America was too
exhausted to tell herself. America was also too tired to ask why her
lover was so certain it was male, if anything.

They turned to face their adversary. Behind them, the techs got
to work flipping switches and activating electronic boxes Orion didn't
understand at all. The crew wasn't running, though, which she supposed
was a good thing.

"Tallyho!" It was moving as slowly as ever; apparently its
prodigious speed over water couldn't be done on land. Most of it had
turned black from all the weapons that had struck it, but it seemed
unfazed by them. Before it, two police cars raced away, gunshots
echoing as they sped past the shopping center.

Above them all, the sky gradually lightened as dawn broke.

"Ready, Eileen?" asked Orion, gripping her controller. It was a
small calculator-sized box, attached by two thick wires to a host of
devices in the truck.

"Ready as ever, Jennifer," said America. She swallowed hard and
held her identical controller shakily.

"Gertie power at maximum," called out the head tech. Above, the
lights flickered once, twice, and then went out. Simultaneously, a
whining shriek came from the truck. "Um...I wouldn't wait very long if
I were you!" he hastily added.

"Gotcha," nodded Orion. "Okay, on three. One, two, three!"

Both the senshi flipped on their controllers. Both reacted
differently.

For Orion, it was unpleasantly like being electrocuted. A thrill
of power surged through her entire being, from her toes to her chest to
her ears to her fingertips. She was conscious of one thing, and that
was that she had to let this out, and NOW. Fighting unconsciousness,
she brandished her sword and began her attack.

For America, it was unpleasantly like being on fire. Her entire
body felt like it was aflame, and she could only think of one thing to
put those flames out. Her facial expression unwittingly matching her
lover's, she brought her arms out to their ready position.

"Orion..."

"America..."

"Saber..."

"Stars..."

"DISRUPTION!"

"AND STRIPES!"

The two attacks leapt forward from the women, enhanced far beyond
their normal capabilities with the technological support. With a
blinding flash they met the opponent, who howled as its upper half
sparkled and melted into a soup of basic chemicals and its lower half
simply vanished into nothingness under a spray of streaking stars.

"Yatta," whispered Orion, releasing the trigger switch on the
gertie and allowing it to power down. America did the same. "We did
it."

Behind them, the whine built to a crescendo.

"Um...," began America.

"DOWN!" screamed Orion, panicking, and rightfully so. As they hit
the rough pavement, the whine reached ear-shattering proportions and
then culminated in a fiery explosion. The makeshift gertie, unable to
withstand the strains placed on it in such a short time, self-
destructed, instantly killing all the techs who had been in and near it.

The two senshi ducked their heads down, wincing as bits of debris
rained down around them. Both knew that had they been a few meters
closer, their remains might have been part of that debris.

Finally, after she stopped shaking, Orion pulled out her
communicator. "Valhalla, this is Sailor Orion. Target eliminated...we
need a recovery crew here immediately...and a coroner as well."

"Acknowledged, Orion, they're on their way. Good job." The
connection closed with a click.

"Good job my ass," said the redhead bitterly, rolling over on her
back and facing the rising sun. "Real great job indeed."

America got to her hands and knees, crawled over, and held onto
Orion tightly, holding her until the tears finally came.

It was the only response she could think of. Words at that point
were useless.


================

Well, that was cheerful.

Next up, some happier times, as a lull in enemy action permits us
to take a look at Jen's typical day.

--
LeVar Bouyer -noting that this coming Sunday is Jen's birthday.
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