Subject: [PMFFML] [FFML-R][fanfic][X-Over] Parting Words
From: David Farr
Date: 2/17/2001, 11:18 PM
To: FFMLRefuge@listbot.com

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Parting Words
By David Farr 

All characters are the property of the respective owners and are used
here without permission.

***** 

        The tapping of the keys of her laptop was the only sound in the
car. We couldn't turn on the radio, petrol was scarce enough without
wasting it on music, besides there hadn't been any broadcasts in almost
five years. Tapes, CDs, even records, they had been a standard item only
half a decade ago, but now you would be lucky to find one, the endless
shortages had made them collectors items or prime material for recycling
into clothing. 

        I looked out into the grimy dusk outside the window. Beyond ten
meters I could only see vague shapes. The sun was probably directly above
us, trying its hardest to reach through the layers of soot and gas that
covered the planet. The gray snow covered everything, blending into the
mist that hung in the air. Even our vehicle's air conditioning didn't
clean the disgusting smell of that foul smog. 

        "This used to be such a beautiful place," my partner murmured,
her breath misting out and brushing against the windscreen. "Back
before..." she trailed off. Neither of us wanted to talk about it. More
than any other people on earth we were aware of the problems suffered by
our world. We could not do anything to stop it, but it was our job to
make sure that some people survived it. 

        We travelled the world, finding those chosen by Kami-sama and
guiding them to a place where they could sleep until our world recovered.
Deep beneath Tokyo there were already vaults of crystals holding those
that would survive the coming holocaust. This mission was different, for
once there would be no extra sleepers when we finished. 

        "Shall we go?" I asked, reaching for the door handle. 

        "Wait a second." She reached up and wrapped a scarf that matched
her blue hair about her face.  That was one thing I had noticed about my
partner, she had a tendency to wear a single colour. Come to think of it,
so did most of her friends.

        "You know, if you stare like that, your wife might get jealous."

        Once a comment like that would have brought a blush to my face
and a stammered apology. Now though, things were different, I simply
chuckled in response. "She's not the type to get jealous so easily.
Besides, she knows there is nothing between us."

        My partner nodded. "Shall we go?" she echoed.

        I pulled the handle and forced open the door, letting the wind
and snow rush into the cabin. Even with five layers of clothing on I
immediately felt the bite of the cold wind. You'd think, after the slow
decline in the weather, I'd be used to it, but it was always
uncomfortable. Freezing was now one of the most common deaths in the
world, even the tropics. 

        The edge of the road was lined with the rotting hulks of a once
verdant forest. The smell of a slow rotting death hung in the air, mixing
with sulfur and smoke. As she had said, it had once been beautiful here,
before... 

        My partner led the way to the stairs, guided by the information
gained by her computer. We had to be careful, black ice covered the
steps, making the climb up the hill treacherous. Once someone had taken
great care to clean off the leaf-litter, but like most of the planet, the
stairway had fallen into disrepair. Part way up we paused and stood,
gasping for breath in the foul air, at one of the landings. 

        From our vantage point we could see only the swirling grey of the
storm, but I knew that in the valley below there was a lake. Experience
told me it was probably toxic. According to the files I'd seen, there
used to be a house on the shores, but during a violent storm it had slid
into the waters. The family we were visiting had moved up to the shrine
on the hill then. 

        "We'd better hurry," my partner's voice was heavily muffled by
the scarf and barely audible over the screaming wind, "according to
Kami-sama the best time to catch them all is now." 

        I turned to her. She was still cradling the laptop. It was her
most important tool now that the magic had failed. All the fates always
smiled on me. "Better get going then, I'd hate to anger my
father-in-law." 

        We resumed our climb, coming at last to the small courtyard that
led to the shrine. Kami-sama was right, of course, all six were there,
gathered about a raised bench. The form of an old man lay atop it,
covered by a blanket of rich green. I wondered briefly why they'd chosen
to bring him outside before we started towards them. 

        Like us they were wrapped up for the cold, although from what I'd
read most of them didn't really need to. Anyone that could walk in space
needed no protection from even this unearthly weather. Despite that
clothing I could spot our man, the only male amongst the group. 

        One of the females let out a small sob. "Oh Yosho, why did you
have to go like this?" My heart went out to her, but at the same time I
reflected that I'd heard similar sentiments so often in so many places,
from a dojo in Nerima to a hospital in Chicago.

        One of the smaller figures, a child by the looks of it, turned to
the man. "Are you still going to stay?" she asked in a nasal accent.
"This pollution has already been the end of the rest of your family."
Strangely that one was wearing the least, certainly no hood covered her
head of flowing red hair. 

        "Yes, Washuu," the man's voice cracked with a sob held inside,
"it is my home, I must try something." 

        He was effortlessly lifted him from his feet by one of the taller
women. "Damn it Tenchi, this place is gonna kill you just like it killed
your father and grandfather! I don't care if you chose me or Aeka. Hell,
you could even go with Sasami or Mihoshi! Just don't die here!" 

        "She's right you know." My calm words caused all of them to go
silent. "If you do stay here you will only die." 

        The one holding Tenchi turned to glare at me and I got a first
good look into her eyes. They were gold, catlike, and filled with anger.
"Who are you two?!" She had fangs, but that didn't surprise me, neither,
of course, did the cyan hair. Some distant part of my mind wondered when
I had become so blaise about the supernatural.

        I quickly took in the scene. Now that they were facing me I could
see more of them. Two were obviously sisters, one with sky-blue hair and
the other purple. The purple haired woman was frowning at us, or perhaps
I should say glaring. It appeared she disliked our interruption. Her
younger sister's expression though, was hovering between a happy smile
and a look of curiosity.

        Next to them, looking very confused, was a dark skinned girl with
blonde hair that peeked out of her thick hood. Her large blue eyes darted
between us and her companions, and she momentarily stopped shivering as
she reached for something in her jacket.

        "I'm Keiichi Morisato, and this is Ami Muzino. We represent
someone who desires to make sure that humanity survives the upcoming ice
age." I was greeted by looks of curiosity, scepticism and, in one case,
confusion. 

        "So?!" Ryoko, the demon and space pirate, demanded. 

        "Our superior desires that Mr Masaki leaves so that someone
off-planet remembers our little mud-ball when it recovers." My partner
delivered the line with such absolute blandness that I'm sure none of
them fully caught the meaning.  "It'd be nice to have either the forces
of Jurai or the intellect of the galaxies greatest genius behind us." 

        "WHAT?!" the chorus of voices were almost deafening.

        Ami looked over at me. "He said, 'tell them the full story.'" 

        I shrugged. "If He thinks so." They were all confused now, so I
gave them one of my best comforting smiles. "Excuse us. As I said, He who
employs us wants to see mankind survive what's happening to the earth." 

        "Perhaps we should go inside and discuss this." It was the purple
haired princess, Aeka. She had once more regain her regal disposition.

        "Ah," I waved at the body, our arrival had interrupted an
important occasion. They all had the good graces to look ashamed. 

        Tenchi turned to the younger princess. "Sasami, could you call on
Tsunami, please." 

        The teenager nodded and turned to the body. She started chanting
softly, whispering something about ancestors and trees. A soft blue light
surrounded her, shining brightly in the gloom. It flowed out from her and
covered the body of the man lying on the bench. A second stream went out
from him and pierced the darkness, heading out into the forest. 

        "The health of one waned, and the illness grew in both. Even as
the poisons were drunk by the roots of the tree, they were breathed by
the man. So passed Yosho and Funaho, bound in both life and death." The
girl's eulogy was spoken in a voice full of age. As she fell into silence
the glow faded, taking the body with it. 

        Tenchi turned back to Ami and I. "Please, come in." 

        The interior of the house was sealed and warm, forcing us all to
strip off most of our clothing. Few places could afford this kind of
heating, but the Masaki house had unique advantages. No one else on earth
could use an antimatter reactor to power the house. We all moved into the
dinning room, where Sasami all served us some hot tea from the kitchen. 

        "Now, will you explain how you know about us?" Aeka inquired once
we all had started sipping the tea. 

        "I think we'd better start by explaining exactly who we are," I
stated, and glanced over at Ami. "Have you ever heard of the Sailor
Senshi?" 

        I got blank looks from most of them, except Washuu, who nodded
sagely. "A group of magical girls who used to operate in Juuban.
According to what I was able to discover they saved the world from a
number of magical super-villains. Nothing has been heard from them since
a major battle that threatened to destroy Tokyo." 

        Ami smiled at her and nodded. "I'm one of them, Sailor Mercury,
or at least I was. It was a battle to save more than simply our world,
the entire universe was on the line. Everything was going wrong, our
enemy had taken all of us but Sailor Moon, but to make a long story
short, she managed to save the day. Unfortunately our battle had saved
the universe, but there was some unexpected damage here on earth." 

        I took over the narration. "The energies released damaged the
Yggdrasil, that's the computer system that keeps the natural and
supernatural forces of this world in balance." 

        "A computer system?" Tenchi asked in disbelief. 

        I nodded. "Strange but true. It appears that the old scrying
pools from myth and legend were just someone's attempt to explain a
monitor, while gods and goddesses are just the staff that run it." I
paused for a second to take a sip of tea. "As I was saying, Yggdrasil was
damaged and things started to go wrong. Sub-system after sub-system
failed, faster than they could be fixed, in the end it was decided that
the system needed to be shutdown and rebooted. Unfortunately the affect
of this on the earth will be harsh. Now Kami-sama and the gods are buying
people like us time to collect together those that we believe we'll need
after the world and Yggsdrasil repairs themselves." 

        Washuu seemed relieved. "That explains why I couldn't come up
with a solution. I was only trying to deal with the symptoms, not the
actual disease." Tenchi gave her an apologetic look. 

        "There is no other way to fix it," Ami murmured. "We've tried
everything." 

        Tenchi looked at us. "And you want me to leave?" 

        "Yes. We can only save so many, and if you leave, then not only
can we save one more person, but we will have a friend out there who
might be able to help us when we wake." I stopped and stared into
Tenchi's eyes. "You won't be abandoning your world Tenchi, just
regrouping to come back and fix it later." 

        "Tell me one thing, how do you decide who will survive?" Tenchi
asked. 

        "Do you use some kind of lottery?" Mihoshi asked. Everyone at the
table groaned. 

        "To be honest, I have yet to figure out the criteria for
selection," Ami admitted, smiling weakly. "Kami-sama and Sailor Pluto
drew up the list, and both keeping their reasons a mystery. We are simply
asked to collect people and put them to sleep." 

        "There doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason to it," I added.
"We have people so ordinary you would miss them in a crowd sitting next
to the best martial artists on the planets. Metal workers, geniuses,
farmers, poets, and even a few criminals. People literally from every
walk of life." 

        "About the only thing we don't have are politicians and lawyers,"
Ami added, smiling. This brought a chuckle from about the table. 

        "And you'll just sleep away the ice age?" Sasami asked. She
didn't sound like she had outside. Youth was there once more, but her
voive still retained some touches of the wisdom she'd exhibited at the
funeral. 

        "Yes," I replied. "And awaken to a bright new world where
humanity will live in an age of beauty of light. Or at least that's what
we're told." 

        "It's true," Ami added. "I've seen it." Everyone stared at her,
not surprising, really. "I travelled into the future once to help them
with a problem." 

        Tenchi stood. "Thank you for bringing this to me." He smiled at
us. "I need to think about this." 

        Ami and I stood, knowing our job was finished. "You're welcome." 

        "And hopefully we'll see you when we wake," Ami added, smiling.
"We must be going, our list is still very long." 

        Tenchi nodded. "I don't envy you your job. It must be hard
telling people they have to leave their friends behind."

        I nodded. "It is. But it helps that I am also doing the same."
Beside me Ami nodded, her eyes focusing on a distant memory. 

        They took us to the door, and shivered as we headed out into the
cold air, bundled up in our cold weather gear. As we reached the head of
the stairs we heard a loud cry of "MYA!" and the rush of something large
shooting into the stratosphere. Turning back we saw that the shrine was
dark and empty. 

        "I hope they'll be happy," Ami yelled over the wind. "Let's get
going!" 

        I turned, then felt a familiar tingling. Someone I loved very
much was trying to tell me something. "Hold up." 

        She turned to face me, about to inquire what was wrong. A man
burst from the trees, interrupting her. I looked at him. He was dressed
surprisingly lightly, wearing a shirt, trousers and bandanna. On his back
he carried a massive pack and a large umbrella. 

        "Ryoga Hibiki?!" I called, managing to get his attention. 

        He came over to us, a feat in itself, according to the tales I
have been told. "What do you want?" 

        "If you want, we can take you to Akane and Akari," I told him. 

        His eyes opened wide. "You know where they are?" 

        I nodded. "Yes. First thought we have to find your friend Ranma.
He has been looking for you and refused to rest until you were found."

*****

        I lay back in the crystal coffin, staring at the banks of already
frozen people across from me. It had been a long road, finding everyone
on Kami-sama's list, but it was finally finished. Ami had already
preceded me into the chambers, joining her fellow Senshi in that timeless
slumber, and now it was my turn. 

        My wife Belldandy, goddess of the present, stepped into my view.
"Are you comfortable Keiichi?" With everything that had happened, we were
married in name only. We'd never had time to be husband and wife, she had
always been working on Yggdrasil. 

        I nodded. "Thank you, my love," I whispered. In the silence she
heard me. 

        She gave my one of beautiful smiles, although I saw an unusual
fatigue in eyes. "Sleep well," she murmured, leaning forward. Her lips
met mine and shared our love in a long, lasting kiss. As she pulled away
to close my sleep chamber I could still feel that weet touch.

***** 

        Belldandy watched as Keiichi fell into the deep sleep. He had
worked hard, and she knew that he had done so to lift her own burden. Now
he was resting, and in a short while she would be too.

        In absolute silence she turned away and walked down the halls. It
felt like a graveyard of crystal. Thousands of people lay suspended in
time, awaiting the rebirth of their world. She travelled amongst the
sleepers, her footsteps echoing in the perfect silence.

        At last she came to perhaps the most important room of all. It
contained only ten crystals, but according to her father they were the
most important of all the sleepers.

        She paused to look at the central chamber. The woman lay there,
her sleeping face the absolute picture of serenity. Streams of blonde
hair ran down the length of body adding to, not detracting from, her
beauty. She was clothed in a snow white ball gown, or perhaps it was a
wedding dress, that sparkled even in the dim light of the ungroundcavern.
Craddled gentlely in her arms was a black cat, a crescent moon on its
forehead peeking out from beneath the paw her nose was tucked under.

        Turning away Belldandy pulled out a mirror and placed it on the
ground. It would be safe there, she knew, she would be the next person to
enter the room. She stepped forward and vanished into its surface. 

-----

Author's Notes:

        This has been sitting in one of my work directories for a long
time. It came about as I was considering doing a crossover and released
that if you included Sailor Moon, you started having troubles as, from
what I've been told, the anime has mankind frozen for a millennium (the
end of R was never shown here, so I have to go by hearsay). It combined
with a few other ideas, and out came my first every non-epic story.

        I have ideas for both a prequel and a sequel, but nothing
comprehensive nor expansive.

        Oh, and I hope my first post to the FFML-R goes well

-----------
David Farr
http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~djfarr/
djfarr@ihug.co.nz        katsuhito@planetjurai.com
"I wonder, I wonder. Do you know what I wonder?"
   - The Shadow Play Girls, Revolutionary Girl Utena


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