As the universe draws its last breath, Sailor Cosmos reflects on what has been and what her future could be
In the beginning, the universe began with an infusion of energy that caused an explosion that humans would later term as "The Big Bang." Trillions upon trillions of years after that split second, the universe is almost dead.
It is now in what is called The Dark Era, where there is nothing left. All protons have decayed and the phenomeon known as black hole are almost completely evaporated. The only energy generated now is through neutrinos, electrons, positrons, and photons of enormous wavelengths in this vast, empty blackness.
There is also her.
We were formed not long after the universe began - the forces necessary to create humanity and other forms of intelligent life that have lived throughout the years. For millinea, we were nothing but opposing waves of energy, fighting each other for control. Sometimes, she had the upperhand. At other times, it was me.
I have distant memories of being a young girl with hair tied in odango, carefree and easy-going. A name and a voice keep me sustained during these dark times.
I drift alone where planets once stood. It seems surreal, as if they were never there to begin with. But they were. In one form or another, I have walked on nearly every solid planet that could sustain in the universe.
But that was years ago, so long ago that I can't even begin to count it. In this age, much like the universe in the beginning, time slips by like sand cascading into an hourglass. Soon, it will be over. And from then, who knows what will happen?
A quick flash of light shot at me and I instantly dodge, flinging back a ray of energy. "Back off, bitch," I snarl.
Then I was in darkness once more.
My name is Sailor Cosmos.
I was here when the universe began.
I will be here when it ends.
And damn it to hell, when it goes down, I'm taking that bitch - Sailor Chaos - with me.
Legend says that Chaos originally existed before I did. Chaos, they said, was the confused nothingness that made up the universe. A descendant of Chaos was supposedly Love - that being me. The legends have it wrong, but who left to lament this slight lapse of interpretation? There are no humans. They died out trillions of years ago. The last form of intelligent life was sacrificed into a black hole just a few billion years ago.
I heard their screams as they died - sucked into the afterlife against their will.
It was at that point I had fled, taken form of a little girl and gone back into the past to one of my reincarnations that I knew had faced Chaos before. If she could break the cauldron that was her home, then the universe wouldn't end, right? I wouldn't have to see world after world sacrificed and everything that I care for be torn away from me again and again.
It cycled over and over. My love, my family and friends would be torn away from me, only to be reborn in another body and another life. Eventually, they would waken and we would be together in a doomed paradise. Eventually, they would be taken away, one by one.
As I oversaw the passing of the very last, I knew my heart couldn't take it any longer.
"I will end it now," I addressed the twin spirits of Sailors Saturn and Pluto. "Lend me your strength and I will take her out now."
"It is not in your fate to do that," Saturn informed me.
"You must live until the end of time," Pluto added. "It is your destiny."
"What sort of destiny curses me to live in a sea of blackness until the end of time?" I yelled at them. "What if time never ends? I'll be alone forever!"
"Time will end," Saturn said.
"But, time also begins again," Pluto said.
My hands curled into fists and I cursed the tears that rolled down my cheeks. "Then, I will kill myself."
"You won't die. You'll simply be reborn again. Your time has not ended yet. Ours has. You will see us again," Saturn replied.
With that, they combined the last of their spirit energy into a large staff. The moment I took hold of that staff, I felt the change come over me. I left my latest form of life and evolved into the state that I am at now - Sailor Cosmos.
I held the staff in both hands, the familiar weight somewhat comforting. Once upon a time, I told Chibimoon's guardians that when Eternal Sailormoon gained courage in herself and everything once more that she would become Sailor Cosmos. The courage isn't a problem. The loneliness, the uncertainity is.
And despite my trip to the past, it was something that I could never quite let go of.
There was no going back. I used all of the time energy in the staff to make my little jaunt back to the 20th century. In a sense, it helped to speed up the end of the universe because of the vast amount of energy that I used. No matter how much I try, I can't avoid my own death, finally after trillions of years. I once thought it would never come.
But as the stars die out one by one, I realized I better get used to the concept in a hurry.
The Bible has a line, that "there is a time to be born, and a time to die." Ecclesiastes 3:2. Throughout the endless years of time, that book was the one that endured. It's funny in a way. I certainly did not grow up Christian. Japan, back in the era I loved, was a country guided largely by Buddhism.
Their approach to death was pretty different.
Buddhists believe that death is a breaking apart of the body's physical form. It's not an ending, but a beginning, monks stressed. A common example is the use of candles to signalify the ending and beginning of life. When the flame of one candle is touched to the wick of the second, it is responsible for bringing life to said candle. Death is merely the gateway to rebirth in another realm.
I wondered what the monks considered would ever happen when the last candle goes out.
I concentrate and with my staff, form a small pocket in the vast universe. From it, I take an extremely old book, one that I manage to keep in good repair with the manipulation of the remaining particles of energy that I can get my hands on. It is one of the few physical objects that I own, the ones that are also dissipating due to the lack of available particles to keep them together.
I was not a Christian during my life as Tsukino Usagi. But, in an odd sense, the Christian Bible comforts me. I toy with the cracked leather binding and think back to the moment that humans invented the use of the printing press. Gutenburg chose to use the Bible as his inital project, an attempt to spread the good word to the uneducated masses. The one I hold is probably its grandchild to the trillionth time. It was salvaged from one of the last planets to survive until the black holes decimated all life forms.
It's amazing what means that intelligent lifeforms took to comfort themselves with their impending deaths. They had no way to wonder what was waiting for them in the afterlife, so they speculated. They hoped and they prayed.
I wonder if humanity would had survived if they had glimpsed the eternal blackness that has become my hell.
I flipped through the book of Revelations, one of humanity's attempts to predict the darkness of the times to come.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
I read this aloud, not to hear my voice echoing in the dark, but because such things deserve to be read aloud. Although, I do suppose that this is my way of keeping myself sane.
No more death. No mourning, no crying, no pain. I suppose the Bible got it right in some regards. I gazed about the stillness. None of that existed because no one existed. In a sense, it never did. But, it had to exist, right? The proof is in the book that I hold. But, what happens when the book goes? When I go? I tip my head back and allow the tips of my twin tails of hair to tickle the back of my legs. When I close my eyes for the final time and give up the fight, what will happen? Does the universe cease to exist and all there exists is an empty void that will last forever and ever?
In all manners of religion, in languages that are too numerous to count, I have heard the same thing over and over again - I will see my family again. I will see my lover, my daughter, my friends. No matter what, I've always held onto that hope in my heart. Prophecy even says that I will see them again.
Perhaps they are together now, in a land of paradise. "No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him." I recite this from memory, my fingers rubbing the book. "They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever."
What if there is no God? What if there is no celestial being that holds life over all? What if I simply cease to be and that is it? Then, what have I lived for? What have I died for, repeatedly since the beginning of time? What is the purpose of the universe if there's no place to go once it dies? When I die, does it mean that Chaos won? Or, does it mean that I did?
I felt movement and I glanced down to see the ancient book separate, particle by particle, into the nothingness that it once was. I cry out and do my best to repair it one more time, but the rare wavelengths of energy elude me as I try to piece together the binding one more time. Eventually, it dissolves and goes back into the nothingness that it once was - the last record of human thought and wisdom gone to the ages.
Once upon a time, I was a girl known as Tsukino Usagi.
My hair was twisted into odango, much like the ones I wear now.
She was clumsy, lazy, carefree, whiny, and oh-so-gloriously normal.
She had a family, friends and a man that loved her very, very much.
The syllables echo through space, almost a wispy sigh. I place my hand to my throat and swallow. It's been years since I've ceased needing to breathe oxygen and could absorb the gasses that float through time to keep me alive. My voice is dying, I realize. I am dying.
I close my eyes and will the impending death away. But, with death comes an end to the loneliness that I've carried for the majority of my life - with the exception of Chaos. We are heaven and hell, the sun and the moon, yin and yang. She, in all essence, is my balance.
But, Chaos isn't my love.
It's strange. I haven't remembered my years as Usagi in several millenia. Yet, they're now flooding back, like watching an old black and white filmstrip set to a soundtrack generated from a pipe organ.
My eyes flutter open, and I swear that just for a moment, I heard him. But, I know that it can't be him. He is dead, part of the dust that expands through the universe.
"Mamo-chan," I weep, tears rolling down my cheeks. If I try hard enough, I can see him.
His hair was as black as the night that surrounds me, his eyes as blue as the sky that once shielded Earth from the sun. His lips...my fingers touched my lips. His lips were soft, yet firm. The feeling rushes back, that of being weak, yet strong. I tilt my head back, imaging the caress as it smoothes down my body and under the folds of my skirt.
When was the last time I had felt this? I can feel him moving over me, his touch awakening parts of my body I though were asleep. My hand is not my own, it's his. It touches the one part on my body that makes me cry out and throw my head back in ecstasy. I want to lose myself. I want it to all go away. It's me and my phantom lover, keeping me sane on the edge of a universe that won't stop from plunging to its doom - not even for me.
And, just as fast as the feeling came, it slipped away. Consciousness returned and I slid my hand from under my skirt. I did not achieve the nirvana that I had reached so often with him during my life. Before the universe ended... Just one more time... I felt that I could...
"Asleep on the job, aren't we?" Chaos' taunting voice shook me from my stupor and I whirl around, staff poised to launch an attack. "You are such a pathetic, mortal wimp, Cosmos."
"If I was mortal, I'd be nothing more than the dust you're disturbing with your prescence right now, Chaos."
"Ah, but, don't you forget, Cosmos-chan? Soon, you will be of this dust as well." Chaos held her hands together and fired off an attack at me. I immediately countered and shot back a ball of light of my own. It dissipated before it could touch her.
Chaos smirked. "Your little solo porn show consumed more energy than you though, Cosmos."
I did the only thing I could think to do. I ran.
"You can't run, Cosmos! There's nowhere for you to run to!" Chaos shouted after me. "All that is left is you and me! Then, there'll be nothing!"
Humans developed several theories about the end of the universe. Two of them centered around the open universe - that once the Big Bang occured, the universe would spread infinitely, even when all matter has ceased. This was known as the Big Chill.
A third possibility centered around a boomerang theory of sorts. This one envisioned a closed universe, one that would expand only so far, then collapse in on itself. When it reduced to one single, dense dot, a Big Bang would occur once more, and the universe would begin again. This was known as the Big Crunch.
Faith originated when the first intelligent lifeforms realized how vast the universe was, and how lucky they were to survive in it. It's such a simple concept, to believe in a higher being than yourself. I sometimes wonder what caused such a miracle, such as life, to happen.
"Don't you know?" Sailor Pluto mentioned as we sat having tea during the time I was known as Queen Serenity. "You were the one who caused life to happen."
"That's silly," I replied. "I was born a simple girl in the 20th century. How could I start life?"
"You know that you threw yourself into the cauldron because there is a need for chaos in the universe," Pluto explained. "Chaos is the darkness of the universe. But, what creates the light? Light is needed for humanity and other forms of intelligent beings to form and flourish. As Sailor Cosmos, you provide that light."
Well, it seems that Pluto was wrong. I snorted and stared around me. If I was the one that caused life, then where was it? If I had my way, life would always flourish.
"There is a time to be born, and a time to die."
The words fall from my lips before I realize that I've spoke them. I close my eyes and felt like stompinga way - except for there's really no good place to stomp in space. So, I pouted. I will not go gently into that gentle good night, or however that poet termed it. I am a Sailor Senshi. I will fight until my very last breath is taken.
And, then what? What happens when I win?
I turn back in the direction I fled. Like it or not, Sailor Chaos was another being in the universe with me. If I kill her, I'll be alone.
The thought nearly cripples me and I drop my staff as I hunch over, dragging in breath after breath as panic nearly consumes me. Tears leak out of my eyes and my heart feels like it's going to tear apart. I don't want to be left alone in this dark emptiness forever! What would the point be to my existance?
My eyes open and I see my staff slipping toward a black hole. I dive for it and manage to latch onto it just before it gets caught in the massive gravitational pull. I sail back up into a safer patch of the universe, feeling my way around. The black holes are growing bigger. Soon, there won't be any safe haven for me to hover in.
I suppose those who said that universe was an open one got it right.
I rub my hands over my weary face. I am tired. Maybe it's time for me to end this fight. I tilt my head back and open my eyes.
Maybe there's no more life because I stopped believing in life.
Maybe the universe is dying because somewhere along the way, I lost faith in it.
"To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see," I recited the words from Hebrews 11.
If I had enough faith, would the universe be born again?
Well, things certainly can't be any worse than they are now.
At worst, I will be alone - just as I prophecized.
At best, I will be with my loved ones again.
Or perhaps somewhere in-between. It's up to those who allow me to exist to decide that.
I open my universal pocket and take from it, the last physical object I own. It's one that's been with me for a long time. Determined, I take off toward Chaos.
She sees me coming and knows that something is different. This time, she is the one that runs. But, I catch her, using a noose made out of neutrinos and a wavelength of electrons. I latch onto her.
I'm going to die.
But damn it, she's coming with me.
"SILVER MOON CRYSTAL POWER!" I yell, thrusting the brooch I hold into the air.
It's the last thing I remember...
I open my eyes and gaze across the spread of space and time. I see her looking back at me - my twin, my nemesis. And we feel the rush of the universe as it cools and expands.
And we smile.
What do you know? The third theory about the universe was the right one after all.