Sark began to do his research. He managed to get his hands on a computer, and used his abilities to tap into someone’s mind as how to use the thing. He was then awed by what it could do, and this thing called the Internet. He was also angered that his lair was not net ready, but after figuring out how to steal it from some underground wires, and then how to keep prying eyes from finding out he was accessing the web illegally, he was now on-line. To him, it seemed like an electronic Oracle of Delphi. What also fascinated him was that one could find whatever they wanted—whether it was socially acceptable or not! By that, he also realized that he could also gain insight to the human mind by this: find out what made it tick, and how to use that to his benefit. However, the first thing that he wanted to find out was if there was anything about the sailor scouts.
When he went into this wonderful thing called a “search engine,” he type in “sailor scouts.” Up came a huge list with all kinds of references. He did not know where to start, and then he came across this thing called a “wikipedia” entry on the sailor scouts. It sounded a lot like “encyclopedia, so he decided to check that one out. When he did, up come “Sailor Scouts” in bold letters, and there were some links which he kept note of to check out afterwards. He then began to read the article. It read, “The Sailor Scouts are an all female team of fighters who have appointed themselves to be guardians of the earth. There are currently nine members to the team, each member corresponding to one of the nine main celestial bodies as viewed from the earth. There has been rumors of an occasional tenth member, but her services seem to be an off and on thing. They arrived on the scene in Japan about two years ago, and their actions, though sketchy at first, seem to have become more public and have been instrumental at protecting the Earth from several dangers. Though the group is led by one Sailor Moon, the first to reveal herself was the one that at one time was called Sailor V. Before fighting intergalactic foes, she spent time trying to put a stop to the crime syndicate known as the Dark Agency. The entire organization was shut down, and it is not known if there are any survivors to the group.”
It went on to give the names of each hero, of what they were capable, and the personalities of each one as best could be rendered from the limited contact that the press had had with them. The most recent update to the article stated that there seemed now to be a new member to the team—a male member—although that had not yet been fully substantiated, and there were requests for those with more details to inform the site so they could confirm them and update. He then began to lean back in his chair and think. He then began to research their foes. As it was, each one had been stopped thoroughly and finally, and some even turned to good, after which they melted into society and were never seen in that capacity again. He went over them, and then he discovered that the only foe they had ever faced that came from this world was the Dark Agency, and only one Sailor Scout was needed to put them down. However, he read that it was not known if there were any survivors, which meant that there may be. He then clicked on the link that said “Dark Agency” and decided to see who the key members were, and what were their fates.
As he read, it seems that each leader and their lieutenants had been vanquished by her one by one, and it seemed that she was not above using deadly force. It seemed that she had killed each one, so there was no tapping into that resource. However, one thing did catch Sark’s interest. The second in command—one Princess Lin-Lin—was presumed dead, because nothing of her could be found. However, confirming her death had become something of a chore, and it seemed that they had to assume her dead. Sark began to smile, believing that, if he could find her alive, he could yoke that and use it for his master plan. There was hope. He then called in Ragna, who had managed to tend to his wounds well, and said, “Do you feel up to a research mission?”
“I’m still a bit sore,” Ragna replied, “but if it is just research, then I think I can handle that.”
“Excellent!” exclaimed Sark, and said, “Then, come over here and look at this picture.”
“Okay, who is that?”
“This is the person I need you to confirm for me that she is still alive or that she is dead.”
“Let’s see…her name is Princess Lin-Lin, and she is from a land called China.”
“She once tried to take over China.”
“Is she rival royalty?”
“Let’s take a look.”
With that, they typed in “China” and discovered that they were far from having royalty now, although they did have royalty at one time. As far as her move went, she tried to use a corporation to take over China, and they found it funny that the Chinese government would have allowed such an enterprise, considering how controlling their government was. If she had vanished, it was either back to China, or to the underworld of Japan. Looking at the population numbers between the two countries, finding her alive—much less at all—would be the same as finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. They then started to do some more research on the Dark Agency, and started to find out the connections they had with organized crime in Japan. Perhaps through them, they could make something happen. Once he had the information, Ragna was on his way, but more carefully this time, lest another encounter with the scouts cost him his life.
Because of their latest forays causing them to get their homework done early, the team, and Mamoru, decided to hang out at the café and talk about what they know. Mamoru then asked, “Has anyone any kind of experience with dealing with those bent on global domination?”
“I think that covers us all, Mamo-chan,” said Usagi, who was now tearing into her cheesecake.
“Usa-hime,” said Mamoru, “I know you have a high metabolism, or else you would have ballooned long ago. Yet, lately, you have been putting it away more than normal.”
Usagi then said, (after swallowing the last bite,) “I don’t know. I guess that, since I’ve been forced to get my homework done early lately, I have less to think about.”
“And so you turn to food?” said Bunny, with an accusing eye.
Mamoru had to know, “Does she ever stop…you know…” and left it dangling. Bunny then said, “After she chunks out a touch, she manages to lose it!”
Usagi turned beat red, and realized that she was indeed gaining weight. Maybe she should put a stop to it. However, Bunny knew that this was not quite true, but that she would at one point come to grips with her eating habits and stop. Bunny knew that she may have started that earlier than normal, but that would be one time irregularity that could not cause that much of a fuss. “Speaking of studies,” said Ami, “Have you looked at the board lately, Usagi?”
“I stopped looking at that thing a long time ago,” said Usagi, “It just gets me depressed.”
The girls in Juban High all looked at each other, and Minako then said, “I would suggest you take another look at it.”
“Why?” asked Usagi, all depressed, “Am I at the bottom again?”
“Guess again!” said Makoto; and Usagi gave her a look of confusion and amazement. “What do you mean?” she asked.
“Last I checked, you were in the top third right now,” said Ami, “It’s the bottom of the third, but it is there.”
“How…how did I do that?” asked Usagi in wonderment.
“I think it has to do with you getting your work done early,” said Rei. She did not go to school with the others, but she knew what constituted good study habits. Ami chimed in and said, “You see, Usagi, when you get your things done early, when it comes time for the test, all it would take is a slight review the night before, and it would be fresh in your mind the next day. Trying to always learn the whole thing the night before will cause you to forget, because it would be too much new information for your mind to be able to go through and pull out the right information at the right time.”
Tom jumped in and said, “Oh yeah, I heard about this. I also heard that it has something to do with sleep habits as well. If you stay up all night, and don’t get as much sleep, if any, your brain does not have time to process the data correctly. Since dreaming is a byproduct of your brain sorting through data while you sleep, the less time you sleep means less time for your brain to process and remember things, and you walk in with only half the information stored.”
“You see, Usa-hime,” said Mamoru, as he slipped his arm around her, “You are a good student. You just have to do it right.”
“Besides,” Tom added, “My dad always told me, ‘Get your homework done early, and you have the whole weekend to mess around.’”
Ami then handed over the book that Makoto had read and taken to heart, and said, “I think this might help you.”
As she took it, Minako then said, “So, what do we do now?”
“It’s hard to track a foe when you don’t know what’s coming,” said Rei, “I have my ways, but they usually only kick in when there is trouble looming, never too far from the actual event.”
“I guess we just stay vigil like we always do, and be ready,” said Ami, “That’s all we can do for now.”
“By the way,” said Makoto, “Where are the outer scouts?”
“Haruka said that it would be best to search in two teams for now,” responded Minako, “Besides, Setsuna said that she wanted to be careful not to make it look like the faculty was fraternizing with a clique of the students, lest there be an issue with their job.”
Mamoru then remembered his original question, and said, “Aside from what we have faced, has there been anyone to have confronted the forces of global domination before?”
At this, Minako raised her hand. They all looked at her, and she said, “When I was still Sailor V, I squared off against a crime syndicate known as the Dark Agency. They had global domination on their minds. I fairly well stopped all of their leadership, and I do not know any that survived. It was near the end of all this that I ran into the rest of you, and it was also then that I learned of their connections with the Negaverse.”
“Then what you need to do is put down on paper all the tactics they used for doing this,” responded Mamoru, “and then give it to me. We’ll sit down and see if there are some common criteria, and then see if there are patterns for which we can watch.”
“That’s better than what we have been doing,” interjected Tom.
“Then let’s go with that, and see what happens,” said Mamoru, and they then went back to casual conversation and their snacks. However, one thing that could not be helped but be noticed was the way that Makoto and Tom were becoming more and more familiar with one another. Everyone began to wonder if there was something to all this. However, when Bunny saw that, she frowned, and saw trouble.
In the meantime, the outer scouts were at Setsuna’s place, tending to their normal pastimes, when both Hotaru and Setsuna looked like they had gone into a trance again. This was not as severe as the first one had been, but it was something important. When they came to, Haruka then said, “What’s going on? What did you see?”
Hotaru then said in a monotone voice, “A new hand is entering. An old foe arises. A new wrinkle is added. Beware the past meeting the present, for they can disrupt the future.”
Something was definitely eerie about this. Not only are they now dealing with a mystery foe, the mystery is complicating itself, and there was no way to know how to combat it. They only hoped that the inner scouts were honing their skills, because it seemed they were going to need them more than they thought.
During this time, Ragna was back in Japan, following some leads. He began to head in to more and more rough neighborhoods that were growing rougher by the minute. However, due to his size and state of dress, no one dared say anything. He finally narrowed the field down to one family in the Yakuzai that may know something. As he was walking that neighborhood looking for their hideout, Artemis and Luna were walking that same neighborhood. Since they were cats, no one would suspect them walking around, which made it safe for them to wander such neighborhoods. Artemis then said, “You know, this is interesting. I have seen these kinds of tactics before.”
“How so?” asked Luna.
“When Venus was just Sailor V, she put an end to a vicious crime syndicate called the Dark Agency. This was a year before the scouts emerged.”
“Is this what it is now?”
“No, but it seems they do have similar tactics. It was only near the end of them did I discover their connection with Queen Beryl, and then I was able to awaken you and then get you to find the princess.”
Luna thought for a moment, and then said, “Oh yeah, that was the time I thought you were some kind of great leader somewhere feeding me information. That was dirty pool!”
Artemis had not forgotten how embarrassed he had been when he had been discovered, and he said to Luna, “It had to be that way at first; because I had to be sure everything was in place before I had Venus join you.”
She smiled at him slyly, saying, “Still, you didn’t have to play with me like that!”
She knew she had feelings for him, and she knew that this feeling was reciprocated. She just liked to mess with his head from time to time. She then asked, “So what should we then be looking for?”
“Oh, you just…” and he stopped as they both noticed the odd looking Viking stepping out of a limo near a sleazy club in the bad part of town. They could not believe their luck. They high tailed it over there, stayed out of sight, and then shadowed him as he prepared to enter the saloon. They both slipped in behind, and prepared to become the proverbial flies on the wall.
They stayed under tables, going by barrels, staying out of sight. They followed closely as they made their way to the back. They went into what looked like a large closet, and the cats were right behind. Once they were out of sight from the bar which looked like a bad dive, the man in the suit pushed a button, and a panel opened revealing a set of stairs that led down. The cats jumped in before the panel closed again, and they followed the group down the dark passage. When the arrived at the bottom, another panel opened, and the contrast between that place and what was upstairs seemed like night and day. Down there, it looked like a fancy board room, with maroon carpets, gray walls, a large oak boardroom table, with several tropical looking plants about the room. In that room sat several men in nice velvet lined chairs, with the wood of the chair in a matching stain to the table. Almost all the seats were empty, and the Viking took a seat on the opposite end of the man who looked like he was in charge. He wore black, as everyone else did, and he sat in a chair like theirs, yet more resembled a throne than anything else. He then began to speak, “So, Mr. Ragna, what brings you here?”
“I am searching for someone,” Ragna answered, “Or, that is, first of all, to see if someone is still alive, and then I need to find that person. Once I do, then I have a deal for you gentlemen that would benefit the both of us greatly.”
“Really,” said the boss, “Tell me who you wish to find, and whoever that may be could determine where this goes.”
“I need to know if Princess Lin-Lin still lives,” stated Ragna. Artemis’ eyes went wide. “No,” said Artemis, “I thought Venus destroyed her!”
Ragna then sweetened the pot, and produced a gold bar. He said, “I shall pay you this for your aid.”
Everyone stared in amazement, and the boss smiled, asking, “Are there more where that came from?”
“If she lives, and if she agrees to what we seek,” confided Ragna, “not only would there be more, but you and your syndicate would wield enough authority to where such would lose its meaning. You could build your house with it.”
“You have my interest,” said the boss, and he said, “She is not far. It is no wonder that you were led here. She is in the other room, but I would say that you should be careful; she has been moody for the past three years. Unless you can give her some good news, I cannot vouch for your safety.”
“I’ll take that risk,” he said. With that, two of the men that had come with Ragna went over to the wall and tilted a picture. The cats were through in a flash, and they saw a room with wooden wall panels, low lighting, a marble floor, and Artemis recognized her from her Chinese clothing, though she indeed looked like she had seen better days. She looked up angrily at the newcomer, angered that her moping had been disturbed. “Okay, oddball,” she grumbled, “This had better be good!”
Ragna bowed and said, “I send you greetings in the name of Queen Beryl and from Baron Sark in the bowels of the Negaverse!”
Her head came up, her eyes widened, and she said, “You have my attention. What do you want?”
“The baron has finally emerged, and he is setting about to set things right—what had been so rudely taken from us,” responded Ragna.
“Is she involved?” asked the princess.
“To whom do you refer your highness?” asked Ragna.
“I speak of Sailor V.”
“I know of no Sailor V, but I do know of the Sailor Scouts.”
“Why do you talk in plurals, Ragna?”
“There seem to be about 11 of them.”
“Does one of them wear a red bow in her very long hair?”
“Yes, she does, and a sailor suit trimmed with marmalade coloring.”
Lin-Lin remembered that her gloves had been trimmed in that color scheme, and she now realized that Sailor V had allies. However, she did have one thing that she could use. She knew the identity of Sailor V as Minako Aino. She was a girl with aspirations to be a recording star, and it was her interest in Avex Trax Productions that even allowed Lin-Lin to discover her secrets. That meant that she could find out who her friends were, and then she could pay her back ten times over.”
“It is better than that,” said Ragna, “If you aid us, then global domination can be ours, as you had wanted before.”
Lin-Lin was getting that look in her eyes, and a broad smile, saying, “Take me to the Baron. We have much to discuss!”
She got up to leave, and the guards prepared to open the door, but Ragna said, “There are more efficient means!”
That was when she remembered Negaverse travel, and she said, “Excellent! Now I know I can trust you. Only those that have any relation to Beryl could have pulled off that! Let us go. Guards, it is alright. I will be in touch in a few days.”
The cats used this chance to leave that room, and the whole building. They knew there was trouble, and they had to get to the scouts, and fast!