2018-05-04 - The Return: A UFO Appears!

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The Return: A UFO Appears!

Chibi-Usa flees from friends and enemies alike, having stolen, and then lost, the Silver Crystal, and winds up down by the Bay, where a UFO is descending. The Crystal Gems know exactly what it is and send Steven away to get help (and mostly to get away), but after he's done so, he realizes what's going on and returns on his own to help protect his family. Rose Quartz's shield saves everyone from a Black Crystal-amplified blast from Jasper's ship -- apparently, Homeworld and the Black Moon Clan have forged a terrible alliance -- but Jasper, recognizing Rose Quartz, immediately moves in to seize her. Garnet interposes herself, and for her trouble, is apparently killed by a terrible weapon of Jasper's, one that also seems capable of ripping transformations right off of magical girls. Battle is just being joined in earnest when a SECOND UFO appears, Rubeus', and he abuses his Super Gravity Beam to make Jasper's task of neutralizing the magical boys and girls trivial, then brings everyone aboard his larger ship, including docking the smaller one! In the final seconds, the Sailor Senshi join their powers to allow Usagi Tsukino to drag Chibi-Usa away from the beam, leaving the two alone on the beach as everyone else is abducted and the ships ascend back into space...


Hotaru Tomoe, Steven Universe, Chibi-Usa Tsukino, Amethyst, Fate Testarossa, Ami Mizuno, Endo Naoki, Saki Hyuuga, Fuu Hououji, Setsuna Meioh, Niramo Umokeshi, Nori Ankou, Kasagami Araki, Mikoto Minagi, Usagi Tsukino, Garnet, Pearl, Jasper, Peridot, Lapis


Tokyo Bay

OOC - IC Date:

05/04/2018 - 04/16/-2015

*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+ Tokyo Bay +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+
  Once known as the "Inner Sea," the shelter Tokyo Bay once provided for
  merchants and fishermen helped Tokyo develop into the powerhouse that it is
  today, nor is it less useful today. Japan's largest shipping ports operate
  out of the Bay, as does its own navy and that of the US Forces. Herculean
  efforts dredge up its silt to create artificial islands, and factories drink
  its water to soothe their smoky throats.

  To most residents, however, the Bay is simply blue water glittering,
  salt-seasoned breezes, and gently drifting sails. The aptly named Rainbow
  Bridge crossing the bay enhances rather than damages its beauty, its white
  towers lit many nights by an artificial rainbow. A provincial visitor might
  consider Tokyo Bay to be trimmed like a garden hedge; it has a number of
  oddly geometric islands with arranged greenery, and any land touching the
  water often makes the best of it with a park, intake valve, or other
  imposition on nature. To a city-dweller, though, it is a miracle of open
  space and calm.
COMBAT: Amethyst transforms into Amethyst Plus Whips!
COMBAT: Setsuna Meioh transforms into Sailor Pluto!
COMBAT: Ami Mizuno transforms into Sailor Mercury!
COMBAT: Chibi-Usa Tsukino transforms into Chibi-Usa Tsukino!
COMBAT: Nori Ankou transforms into La Sirene de Diamant!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Wind Knight!
COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Sourisi!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into HiME Mikoto!
COMBAT: Saki Hyuuga transforms into Cure Bloom!
COMBAT: Fate Testarossa transforms into Barrier Jacket Assault!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki transforms into Barrier Jacket Aufprall!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... a... hand?

Reports start trickling through Tokyo, at first in whispers and then shouted over the airwaves, that a gigantic green hand is slowly but steadily approaching Tokyo from orbit. It is in fact pointing downwards, directly at the weird art installation on the beach of Tokyo Bay. At first people come down to the water to gawk, but they are eventually herded away by police who are wary of people getting trampled in a panic. Still, those lines are very pourous, and it isn't hard to get in -- or out.


"Steven," Garnet says gently, towering over Pearl who isn't quite looking at anyone, and near Greg who is looking, right at Steven, his eyes pained with worry. "I know you don't think we trust you. I know more often than not we treat you like a human child. But the truth is, we rely on you. Your voice inspires us, binds us, reminds us why we promised to protect this planet. You must now be that voice, for them."

She reaches out an immense hand and rests it on his shoulder, engulfing it. The gem in her palm is hard, and yet her touch is so soft.

"You need to go now and rally the others. Find every magical girl and boy that you can, and send them here to hold the line against that ship. And if we fail... you need to be there, to protect everyone. Like your mother once did. It's your destiny."


Whether called upon by Steven Universe, by the Chevaliers or Shepherds, by the Tuners or Magic Association, or simply by the proof of their own eyes, the beach is fast becoming a staging ground. Organized by the Crystal Gems, new arrivals are being directed to launch anything they've got at the still descending hand.

It should be absurd, but it isn't. There's something about it -- the way its approach is so inexorable -- the way its design, while vaguely humanoid in anatomy, is at the same time so alien and bizarre, who's ever heard of a hand ship -- the way its green plating reflects and refracts the setting sunlight at strange, unfamiliar angles, no Earthly minerals having gone into its composition but rather very different material indeed -- it is, succinctly, scary.

It is trouble. It is more than trouble. It is a very serious threat. It means nothing good for anyone in Tokyo -- anyone on Earth.

This is the very last chance. Soon, it will be close, and wreak whatever havoc it has been sent here to wreak. (Pearl, when asked by curious arrivals, explains with a sort of manic briskness that these are enemies from a war thousands of years ago that almost destroyed the planet.) Soon, it will be too late to stop whatever's coming.

The time is now.

"All right!" Garnet barks like the sargeant she was and is again. "Pull it together! Give it everything you've got!"

Pearl looks over at Amethyst and offers her hand -- and a very tiny smile. "This is your chance," she says more shakily than she otherwise looks. "You always lamented waking up too late to fight with us..."

The Gem on her forehead begins to shimmer with the nascent potential of fusion. Almost shyly, she asks, "...will you fight with me now?"

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into The Hand!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Please... go to Tokyo Bay! We need your help... This is really important!"

If anyone, ever got Steven Universe's number, they might find this message when picking up the phone, reading texts, or listening to voicemails. Any way for contact to pass around would know the tone of his voice belays danger. Though, the message alone is only a touch of what hints at impoending problems. The giant hand in the sky that emits a green glow is also a giveaway.

Houses are stopped by as well, to those where Steven knows where they live, arriving in a radical van. This was Serious Time. But the van keeps going away from danger, rather than toward it.


"I think that was everyone. Do you think they will be nice?" A boy stats with cautious optimism.

"These... other Gems, they aren't like your mother. They aren't like Garnet, Amethyst, or Pearl... They aren't going to start caring about people now. They didn't the first time they--" A rotund man proptly cuts himself off, sweating at the brow.

"The first time they...?" A question returns. "I mean, it was thousands of years ago! I-It's not like I was there!" Silence fills the van. A pin could drop and make a rancor. A boy's face grows concerned.

"I mean, I get it! The Gem's just don't want you thinking of them like that." The man begins to worry what his words may cause. "Like what? ...Dad?!" The pressure begins to build, until it is fit to burst. And it does.

"Like aliens, Steven! Like aliens who invaded Earth! All they do is try to make up for it, but they jsut can't forgive themselves... Do you understand? Look, they were doing something awful to the planet, and your mother couldn't stand it anymore. She told me that she had to turn on her own kind. She gave up everything just to stop what they started here, and drive the invading Gems off of Earth."

"So she save Earth! Thats good!" The boy retorts, desperate to see the good in this all. "...No such thing as a good war, kiddo. Gems and peopel were destroyed. In the end, your mother could only save a handful of her closest friends. If it weren't for her shield... Man. I don't know..."

The boy looks down at his navel. A sparkling Rose Quartz gemstone rests there. "Dad... I have to go back. All my friends need me. Turn the van around!" Desperation fills the childs voice. "No way! The Gems want you out of danger! Let your them and your more experienced magical friends handle this!"

"I said... turn the van around PLEASE!"

A fist is planted clear through a dashboard, causing airbags to go off and the van to come to a skidding halt. "I h-have to go..." A boy states, tearing up. "Yeah, okay. I get ya. Just... be careful. Or I am gonna run fresh out of family." And thus, a father watchs a son go off to a fight which he is unsure he will return from, a tear forming in his eye.


A portal rips open near the Crystal Gems, and those assembled, as Steven appears, riding Lion. A place he should not be, but defiance and determination have spurned him on to help his family, his friends, and his home. "Hey everyone!" Despite the greeting, he has a very serious face on.

He seems ready as everyone to help... somehow.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa Tsukino can make it a long way on her own, with a lot of time to think. ...And the way she goes makes things... simpler. Specifically:

A hang-glider with faint moon patterns sails in from further into the city, from the direction of an empty, rainy mansion, far away from the soldiers there. There's a girl in a red jacket with pink odango perched in it, flying, flying...

She isn't looking up to the sky, towards the thing in green. She's looking down, at nothing in particular.

She wasn't asked to come. She would've been asked to stay away, probably. But as there's a crowd assembled on the beach... Chibi-Usa blinks--

There's a faint wobbling sound, as she finally starts to come down, and the glider sinks, sinks, sinks--

Little glass shards still attached to her jacket fall off as she rolls through the sand, a blast of purple smoke suddenly marking the disappearance of the glider and the appearance of a... black cat orb with an antenna.

"Muh..." Chibi-Usa starts to rise, and makes a face, spitting sand. "Ugh!"

<Pose Tracker> Amethyst [None] has posed.

So they had come at last. After all these years, decades....centuries, was it? They had returned to this planet. Amethyst couldn't believe it. She didn't WANT to believe it. And yet, all the evidence points to this - as the ship points to them.

"Why now?" Amethyst knew why: it was a chain of events that led back to one of the fights she had missed. If only she was there- but no, that wouldn't have made a difference, and it doesn't matter any more anyways. She groans in frustration to hide her fear. "Yeah, yeah, let's do this." She summons her whip - then turns towards Pearl, who was offering her hand.

Amethysts eyes grow wide, looking both shocked, slightly afraid, and maybe a little shy as well. "Yes. Let's fight... together." Her gem glows with energy as she accepts pearl's reaching hand. The glow spreads among both of them, until they are nothing but a silhouette of light. The glowing shapes seem to be connected, and morph together into one of a giant woman. When the light fades, Pearl and Amethyst are gone, replaced by a towering woman of periwinkle skin, long flowing white hair in both hanging pigtails and a large ponytail. Her teal top has a long drape in front ending with a star pattern, partially covering her fuschia leggings. The most striking thing about her besides her size, however, is her second set of arms.

The two pairs of arms are used to hold a colossal bow - almost the same size of her - summoned in a flash. She nocks an arrow of light onto the string, pulls it back, and lets it fly. In midair the giant energy arrow splits into dozens of smaller arrows, heading straight for the flying hand. Will this work? Opal didn't know, but at least Steven was safe.

COMBAT: Amethyst transforms into Opal!
COMBAT: FINISHER! Opal has used From One Arrow, Many on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

Picking up her phone - the severity of the situation was plain by Steven's voice, but even more plain when she looked up and saw a giant hand glowing green in the sky- "I'm on my way." She offered quietly. "After I call the others."


<<Your friend couldn't tell us more about this unidentified invasion force?>>

<<He's too busy calling everyone - but it sounded really urgent.>>

<<This doesn't make sense. Just one ship...?>>

<<They must be really confident in their capabilities... exercise extreme caution.>>


The air was thin in the Upper Atmosphere but Fate hardly noticed it through her barrier jacket's shielding. Plowing through a wispy thin cloud - she halted in mid-air as she came within range of the green hand. Down below she knew the other Magical Girls were gathering around the gems - and as the arrow flew through the sky - she knew the assault was starting. <Ready Endo? Let's do our best to stop this before it goes too far.> It was intimidating - due to the strangeness - but she had to do her best - it at least made her feel good how much backup they all had here. "Fate Testarossa and Endo Naoki - here we go!"

Spinning around Bardiche - there was a chime as concentric rings of runes appeared at her feet. A swell of dark storm clouds gather below - "Arcus Cultus Aegeas - Heavenly Gods that rise above - we beseech you now! Strike with lightning and roar with resonant thunder!" The air crackled with ozone - as arcs of violet electricity appeared amongst it. Slicing down her poleaxe - she announced and her partner echoed - "Thunder Blade!"

The sky flashes with light, and then upward from the ritual rises a rain of solid blades formed by the gathering lightning. Lightning normally strikes down towards the Earth - but in this case the humongous greatsword shaped magical creations - they're all lancing upwards at the ship - "Endo go!"

The true shape of her attack might be more apparent once the other mage starts his ascent...

COMBAT: FINISHER! Fate Testarossa has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

"Fate-let's go!"

One more sword joins the mass of crackling weapons summoned by Fate Testarossa, one more shape that breaks through the rolling clouds and adds a ghastly purple cast to the ring of weapons tearing toward the alien ship.

Fate's weapons aren't just a vanguard for Endo Naoki, but a necessary stepping stone as he reaches the peak of his ascent from his launching point below. A covered hand grasps a handle to tug himself upward, a foot touches down on a second, the weapons used as platforms to continue the boy's ascent into the upper atmosphere and the towering hand lurching toward the surface below.

It's at the peak, the very end, when he launches his own attack. The device in his hand burns with garish light, seems to extend across the sky as it stretches into a pillar of wicked violet.


He swings, when it's time. When he's close enough to scrape the surface of the gigantic green ship and send a mass of purple-black fire racing across its hull.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Saki has not grown to greatly know the friendly young man from the other side of the planet, but he lives on the beach and one time they saved the ocean together, so when her phone lights up with a text, she's happy to read. But her brow furrows when she she sees the results, feet stilling beneath her on the bench. An animate puffball of a fairy hops up on her shoulder soon after, scanning it with a face that soon goes sour. "Flappy..." she murmurs, glancing his way. He grimaces. "I sense something....but I'm not sure what-lapi."

"Well," Saki says, shoving herself to her feet. She thumbs a quick text to Mai, and starts running toward the World Tree Plaza, their most usual hangout. Splash Star could get to the Bay faster from there than by train.

....Ten minutes later, Saki bites her lip, chewing in worry as she sees the Thing growing on the horizon, with no word of Mai. "Saki-lapi..." Flappy murmurs. "The world needs Pretty Cure-lapi!"

"Yeah," Saki says, and holds up her Commune alone.

The World Tree plaza fills with light, and then more yet as the sky blooms with Pretty Cure magic, in the form of a girl in a wine colored dress blasting across the skyline toward the sea.

Cure Bloom's ranged attack ability is limited. Magic falls apart in her grip when she tries to form it into anything more coherent than a cloud of motes. But she doesn't need blasting when something's this low in the sky.

The sky blossoms with the golden light of Splash Star Pretty Cure's Cure Bloom, fist cocked back, blazing with light, lips pulled back in a wordless, defiant scream - and rocketing toward the oncoming ship.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Cure Bloom has used Bloom Petal Straight on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Endo Naoki has joined the combo started by Fate Testarossa!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Crimson Rose Duelist!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I'm on my way," is Fuu's immediate reply when Steven asks her for help. She doesn't even have to think about whether to assist or not - Steven is a friend as well as an ally, and even if he's young, she's seen him in battle time and time again. She's stood at his side confronting monsters and other dangers, and Steven and the Crystal Gems even provided shelter and succour when Fuu was at her weakest. There was never any chance of her turning him down, even if the stakes weren't so terrifyingly high.

Despite her wind magic, though, the green-clad Magic Knight can't fly so readily as a number of her fellow magical girls can. So the Wind Knight takes her place on the beach, not far from the Crystal Gems, turning her gaze skyward. She's certain that she could put an arrow into the giant crystalline hand, even from this distance; she's equally certain that no matter how much willpower or magic she invested in the shot, she'd be hard-pressed to find a critical weakness with one arrow, or even a handful of them. She's physically recovered from the battle at the archery tournament, true, but the memories of that fight are still painful in their own way.

Still ... whatever that nearly-sculpted hand is, whatever threat it represents, whether an emissary of the extraterrestrial Gems or the vessel of some different otherworldly threat ... it *is* in the atmosphere.

And if air surrounds it, the wind can bend to her will to attack it.

Memories of the proto-daimon are pushed aside by recollections of a frantic battle atop and around a passenger jet; the Magic Knight of Wind breathes in deeply, the scent of the sea filling her nostrils, then exhales slowly and gently, centering herself as when she draws back the bowstring and sights along the shaft. "Emerald ... !"

She brings her arms up in front of her, then reaches back, the growing breeze ruffling her skirts and sleeves, tousling her hair, magic rising within and around her as she refines her will, focusing skywards. She has allies up there - magical warriors who *are* gifted with flight - and she can't afford to catch them in this. But that's hardly a limitation - it just means her spell's force has to be focused tightly, and she's long since used to doing that.

Her will solidifies, her power crests, and her voice rings out, "CYCLONE!!!" as she whips her arms forward and up, channeling the force of the tempest's rage and flinging gale-force winds at the descending Hand.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Fuu Hououji has used Emerald Cyclone: Focused on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

The blades carry Endo upwards, propelling him until inevitably they strike the hull. They may not penetrate, but they litter the outside, striking along the entire length. "Bardiche- Load Cartridge!" The urgency of his piston pounded in two - <Cartridge Load.>

An explosion of mana bringing the ritual to new heights. A titanic bolt of lightning slashes out across the sky, striking the first blade and arcing out to the rest of them conjoining each of them in a web of lightning.

Fate yells out a single word like a Kiai shout in kendo - "BREAK!" And then there's a flash of power like the blinding light of the worst kind of thunderstorms - simultaneous with the cleaving slice of purple-black fire.

It creates what looks like an event horizon for a single moment, where it feels like nothing can exist beyond it...

... but is that really the case at all?

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

A soldier leaves the same rainy mansion Chibi-Usa flew from, a short time later, alone.

Sailor Pluto resists her every aroused guardian impulse to chase after the hang-gliding princess. Her flayed nerves scream about danger, but she stays her pace across the rooftops and chooses a different route. Small Lady needs time, and space. If she'd wanted Puu to follow, she would have said. The immediate danger is past. The rest?

Neither is she looking up to the sky, at least not at first. Pluto's eyes find her own boot tips most often, between leaps. It's slower going than usual. Her altitude gets the traveling senshi above most visual impediments, though, and there's nothing to block the massive green strangeness from her peripheral, when it descends far enough into nearby Tokyo skies.

The sense of wrongness presses in on her awareness and draws her gaze round, mid-leap, to follow the green at the corner of her vision. Garnet eyes widen, and her worn adrenal system lurches back into action. Those unearthly angles -- Sailor Pluto has never seen the like of this giant hand-shaped ship, but she nonetheless feels an uneasy sense of recognition.

It is not of this planet. It is not of this Solar System. It is from beyond... alien. Her sworn enemies have breached the outer reaches, the asteroid belt, have made it to Earth. Another failure of guardianship.

Sailor Pluto kicks off the nearest rooftop corner and alters her path to make for the spot the giant green hand descends toward, pulling out a cell phone as she goes.

"Kassie? Could -- could you come?" There's an unusual amount of strain beneath those low tones. "Where?" A touch of dry humor creeps in. "Get up high and look around. I'll meet you there."


The Guardian of Time arrives as the fireworks of battle blast off everywhere, a mass of magical sorts making their appearances at roughly the same time. She focuses on the descending hand, the massive ship -- it's hard not to, really. It dominates the field of vision and the mind, imposing alien menace from on high.

The Garnet Rod shines, casting glittering red across the sands she plants her boots in. She raises it on high, too, slender and sacred, and stares up through Orb at the invading force.

All else falls away. Her will narrows to the Orb, and the ship -- to harnet and then green beyond.

"CHRONOS TYPHOON!" she calls, and the storm comes in answer. Time, silvery and powerful spins into a great tornadic force and rushes upward toward the alien ship. It is her best bid to tear at whatever comprises that hull, with those odd reflections -- the ravages of Time are difficult to resist, no matter where in the universe one hails from.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sailor Pluto has used Chronos Typhoon on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Fate Testarossa and Endo Naoki have used Combo: F and E Welcome to Earth! Please Enjoy Your Stay -
Combination!, composed of Thunder Blade and Stern Brecher, on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The sound of a vibrating phone could be barely heard over the small television that resides in Niramo Umokeshi's bedroom. Glancing up from some math homework resting in the center of a crowded desk and grateful for the distraction, Niramo reaches over and swipes her phone open to glance at the message. A few seconds passes as the main resident reads and re-reads the text from one Steven Universe before she jumps up from her desk and stares through her window. "What? But I though...oh geeze, oh geeze, it's happening already?! Uh, Takk, we have a problem!"

A moment before the miniture Kwami hits the pause button on a game controller before he starts floating over to Niramo's shoulder, shaking his head. "Now what sort of problem is that, Niramo? I do need to make sure there are no flaws with the properly-sized control device that I had to make. Now what is...so...important...?" The Kwami of Substitution and the bearer of the Mouse Miraculous could only stare upwards at the massive GREEN hand descending to somewhere over Tokyo Bay.

"I think...the invasion we heard about is happening. This is going to be one of the biggest things I ever been in, so Takk...mind helping me?" Takk turns around in midair and raises himself slight so they are staring eye to eye. "Of course, and I am certain you will not be the only one out there. So go, Niramo Umokeshi, and do try to find some scrap of technology to experiment with while saving the world. Laughing and shaking her head at the confidence that the little Kwami has in her, that he could be so concerned over technology at a time like this, she says her the words that give her courage to stand up to the evildoers of the world. "TAIL, SPROUT!"

The police perimeter was almost laughably easy to bypass when everyone is focusing on a massive descending space ship and not any magical heroines sneaking though a glaring hole in their security. By the time anyone would notice, she was already inside and rushing headlong towards the residence of one Steven Universe, sand erupting behind her due to her speed. A glance downwards at the wooden tonfa tightly clenched in her hands then up at the airborne hand has the mouse girl frown in thought while on the run. While she could just throw her tonfa, nothing but her strongest attacks would leave more than a dent on the hand-ship, and with being primarely a close-range fighter... "This is going to be tough...ah!"

Slowing down to a light jog so as to not spray the gathered magical warriors with sand, Sourisi quickly scans everyone gathered to see if she recognizes anyone. There was one or two people she vaugely remember and some more so, (was that a four-armed woman armed with a bow?), but her eyes immediately focuses on someone with a massive greatsword on her back, and a somewhat crazy and reckless plan comes to her mind. Coming to a halt next to Mikoto, Sourisi would tap her on the shoulder with a tonfa, then point upwards, not at the hand, but towards the head of the one-armed statue that has a small house sitting in it's lap. "I have a crazy idea, but I think it just might work. Care to ride Air Sourisi?"

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Earlier, in 4-4-4.

"It's coming," Batiste says gently, into the empty closet.

Nori Ankou lays on cushions. The light of the Sea of Tears shines through the Pharos, set in a place of honor. It is not a luxurious room. If not for the cushions she'd be on a bare floor. Music plays from her phone, plugged into a battery, a battery that is running low.

"What is?" Nori says, not looking.

Batiste gazes upon the wilted figure before him. He can see, at least in its outline, the pain in her heart. The contours he remembers, others he intuits. He ignores them all to say, "A giant hand."

"Pf," Nori half-sighs.

"A green one."

Nori lifts her head, if grudgingly.


Now, here.

Batiste exhales. He was able to get everything together. At least if they all die, Batiste reasons, my dear cousin will have eaten something and her phone will be charged.

La Sirene de Diamant is more ghostly than usual, a pale presence in the battle line. Her attention has been turned upwards for some time, long enough that one might expect her neck to be hurting. Finally, she says, "You were right."

"Cousin?" Batiste asks, shaken out of his reverie.

"It is green," la Sirene says. After this she says nothing, still watching as attacks begin.

Batiste, unsettled faintly, asks, "What... will you do, cousin?" To himself he wonders if she will give up; he has sensed that from her in recent nights, not least from words she has said, though, perhaps, not meant sincerely.

La Sirene de Diamant doesn't answer, though she does, slowly, raise her left arm as if to encompass half the sky. She breathes more quickly. The faint shroud of unlight around her intensifies, just a little. But not enough for more to happen. Batiste, perhaps sensing fate moving, scrambles efficiently up her back and onto her shoulder.


"I wonder if I can do it," la Sirene says, mostly to herself. Batiste, close enough, thinks he's being addressed directly. His reply: "Do what?" rings through la Sirene's heart.

La Sirene de Diamant mouths, whispers, or prays five syllables, first two and then three. Her hand twitches slightly.

Everyone in the immediate area gains a second shadow for no clear reason. The light is too high-frequency to be seen at street level, and there is no thermal component. Get to about eight stories and it starts to phase into a sudden vast and silent displacement, rising upwards, with prismatic halations in an inverse spectrum forming around the fringes. The light is trying to make a shape but it's not a shape light can, exactly, make. Instead it's more of a column... until it touches Fate's spell.

The light collapses, drawn up at impossible speed. Skewing up with instantaneous force, lensed by the near proximity of the spell, it cries for the dead ruins of the moon.

But by way of the hand, of course. There is a distant sound as if a steel plate the size of Tokyo was struck by a giant's fist, but it is swallowed up in the tempest and the light.

"... do you think she would have liked it?" la Sirene asks.

Batiste says nothing; he is deeply concerned.

COMBAT: FINISHER! La Sirene de Diamant has used Visions of a Parallel World on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.


Whump. Kasagami Araki lays herself out on the rooftop of one of Ohtori's school buildings. Her eyes are closed and she simply enjoys the feeling of the wind over her body. Up here? There's complete respite from the judging, status-conscious student body that has been raking the former Student Council member over the social coals for reasons both deserved and undeserved. Her hand reaches out, gripping the long wooden sword she'd been training with in the eerily empty dojo of the school.

A sudden phonecall wakes her up from an almost delinquent-like nap. Only when she opens her eye does she realize the peril that the world happensto be in.


A hoodie thrown over herself, only the absurdly long weapon slung over her shoulder would identify the Duelist that once held the Sword of Dios in her hands. That, and the coat of roses fluttering behind that lasts all of three seconds as the petals that make it up scatter to the wind.

Teeth grind in an upswelling of anger that brings her out of the funk she's been in for the past few days for a moment. The green hand that descends towards the Earth is an obvious problem. Something that needs to be destroyed, without the complications of elections, of Shepherds and Chevaliers, or other such problems that have complicated her life.

Both hands grips that wooden training sword, twice as heavy as her usual blade. Her good eye first casts to Pluto. And then back to the sky. The presence of those she cares for bolsters her strength, and she takes a step back. A judging eye peers at that falling ship.

The laugh she gives as she pulls rose petal after rose petal into being from within her hoodie and that magical coat onto her blade is the picture of someone just about to release her stress into a physical action. The stance she falls into is nothing less than perfect, the depiction of someone who's honed her skill with a blade since childhood. And then?

She swings.

"I don't care who or what that is...or why they're coming here..."

Slash. It's a single, perfect arc swung mercilessly with the effortless grace of a well practiced Duelist. The storm of dark crimson rose petals that zoom into the sky is a beautiful, delicious-scented bloody arc that mirrors Kasagami's well practiced and intentional form. Yet it swirls with an all-consuming fury that's reflected in the young woman's eyes.

"But I will not let anyone touch those I love ever again!"

Having lost so much, if there's one thing Kasagami Araki has in abundance, it's anger. And she's more than willing to unleash it at an obvious target with all of the strength she has left inside of her.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kasagami Araki has used Bloody Rose Storm on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Here's the situation, girls and boys: Mikoto Minagi has been all cooped up, under hospital care and then house arrest, for a whole week... more or less. It's been effective; her limbs have healed, her side is halfway there, her bruises have faded.

And it has been utter torture.

Even with that crushing guilt keeping her down, Mikoto is beginning to feel the strain of confinement. Just lying in bed all the time she's not in class, or sitting on the couch... it's no way to live for her. She is a wild and untamed thing, and she needs to be outside.

Mai would be sad, but... isn't it true that Mai is fussing far too much? so she's making mai worry again is that it

... Mikoto writes a note, tonight, before Mai gets home from work. Her calligraphy is surprisingly artful, for someone so feral.

'Mai!', it begins. 'I'm going for a beach walk. I'll be okay!', she adds, because she knows Mai will worry. 'Back in time for dinner!' She doesn't intend to be gone long, after all. She just... needs to stretch her legs a bit, now it doesn't hurt any more to do that.

She signs it '~ Mikoto', with that single kanji which says so much about her life, and leaves it on the table where it can easily be seen. She picks up Miroku, and off she goes. Still a little slower than she'd like - but not as slow as she's been in past days.


It was supposed to just be a normal walk. Nothing special, nothing unusual. Except...

... Mikoto Minagi cannot do normal, no matter how much she tries all for the love of Mai Tokiha, because there is a hand in the sky and it's descending right for the bay she'd been walking towards.

She bristles as she watches it, those wild yellow eyes narrowing to pin-pricks as she takes in the distant object. Mikoto recognises malevolence when she sees it, and this thing - this thing which does not look right, the light is reflecting wrongly as if it weren't made of anything natural at all - this thing screams its malignance.

"... Mai..." Mikoto murmurs, glancing back in the direction of Ohtori. Her hand comes up, to clasp at something underneath her shirt.

She promised she'd sit still, promised she'd recover.

But this thing which Mikoto cannot quite bring herself to call a hand is descending at a steady pace, inexorable as she is, and it is all wrong at the edges.

She unsheaths her claymore and sets off towards the bay at a run.


Mikoto arrives and does not glance too thoroughly at the crowd which has gathered, because her eyes are on the sky. Miroku is grasped in her hands, gleaming black and sharp and ornate as ever, but she does not strike at Garnet, despite their history. She needs information. The nervous one provides.

They are enemies from a war thousands of years ago, and they almost destroyed the planet last time around.

Ah. Well. That explains why it is such a towering threat.

And soon there is - not a girl, but a woman, taller still than two or three and she, too, reaches head and shoulders above the others, but her presence is not nearly so threatening, even though she still doesn't smell like a person should.

"Mai," Mikoto whispers, again, regretful and apologetic, glancing away and back towards the direction of Ohtori for a moment. The steel press crushes down, and there is nothing left of her, nothing at all - but she cannot let this thing land. Eri, Mai, her Lord Brother... she must protect them.

She returns her attention to the thing which is like a hand, and nods, firmly, her grip shifting on Miroku as her lips curl up over her teeth. She says nothing, but the message is clear: she'll fight against it, even alongside her enemies. Threat prioritisation is a skill she's carefully crafted, and that - that thing is a greater threat by far.

That's about when she's tapped with a tonfa, and Mikoto's gaze snaps back down to Earth to find - a girl she remembers, vaguely, whom she'd fought alongside in an old battle. Not an enemy, which, in present circumstances, makes her a clear ally. (In present circumstances, even her enemies are uneasy allies...) She blinks, listening to Sourisi's idea, and the HiME nods again, with an affirmative grunt.

She doesn't know quite what Sourisi's idea is, but anything which can help her get up to hit that thing - she'll take it. She doesn't think Miroku will tolerate being brought forth again so soon.

So she leaps up towards the hand Sourisi indicates, with only the barest wince betraying her condition. Upon its highest point, Sourisi will find her a slight enough passenger - Miroku is heavy, certainly, but she is lean and light and not even five feet high despite her high school uniform.

"... thanks," Mikoto thinks to mutter to her as they sail upwards.

And when they reach their zenith, Mikoto leaps, that obsidian claymore coming up overhead as she sails down towards it. Gravity is what presses down on her, now, as the terrible blade called Miroku comes down upon the thing which isn't a hand no matter its appearance.

With this blade, she has cleaved clean through statues and tanks and cruise liners. An eldritch spaceship is not so different. Cannot be so different. Must not be so different. It comes down in a mighty overhead strike, and Mikoto screams a wordless bloody challenge.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Mikoto Minagi has started a combo targeting Hotaru Tomoe!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 115 Fatigue damage from Fate Testarossa and Endo Naoki's Finisher, Combo: F and E Welcome to Earth!
Please Enjoy Your Stay - Combination!, taking 173 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Opal's Finisher, From One Arrow, Many, taking 188 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 48 Fatigue damage from Cure Bloom's Finisher, Bloom Petal Straight, taking 32 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 76 Fatigue damage from Sailor Pluto's Finisher, Chronos Typhoon, taking 51 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Finisher, Emerald Cyclone: Focused, taking 48 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 66 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Finisher, Visions of a Parallel World, taking 54 Fatigue
damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 44 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Finisher, Bloody Rose Storm, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru
Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 186 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi and Sourisi's Finisher, Combo: The Singular Obsidian Miracle of
Cat and Mouse Combined, taking 124 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Sourisi pointed Mikoto towards the hand of the statue, she half expected Mikoto to simply just shake her head or come up with a better plan. However, that did not happen, and now, as the both of them reach the massive stone palm, she kneels down and motions to her unexpected ally. "Right. Kinda silly, but hop onto my back, then after I jump up as far as I can, you jump off me and get in cl-whao!" Mikoto seems to be quick to accept this plan, and the mumbled thanks that Sourisi gets causes the mouse girl to turn her head and give her passanger a quick smile. "Any time, we need to take this thing down!"

Sourisi pushes off from the hand in a mighty leap, maybe adding a few more cracks to the statue as she leaps upwards, and sailing upwards. Like all things, however, all that goes up must go down, and as Mikoto leaps off her shoulders and upwards, Sourisi's hands flash to her tonfa and pull them out. While she's not close enough to the hand, with this big of a target, her tonfa deviating from their course won't matter too much. Air whistling as her tonfa gather up speed, she throws the physics-defying tonfa at the hull. "Air Sourisi is going to experience some slight turbulence, please fasten your seat belts!"

COMBAT: FINISHER! Sourisi has joined the combo started by Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: COMBO! FINISHER! Mikoto Minagi and Sourisi have used Combo: The Singular Obsidian Miracle of Cat and Mouse Combined,
composed of Obsidian Blade: Death and Wild Claw Barrage, on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

He can only hope he isn't too late.

His faithful friend and companion Lion thankfully, happened to be at the right place, at just the right time.

It takes but seconds to arrive from across town to the beaches where the attempts to repel an invasion are taking place. A portal rips open near the Crystal Gems and their allies assembled, and Steven appears, riding that pink fluffy mascot. A place he should not be, but defiance and determination have spurned him on to help his family, his friends, and his home.

"Stay here," Steven states to Lion firmly. "You gotta stay here in case something happens to me! So dad can have another son!" With that, the boy books it across the lime-tinted sand toward everyone assembled.

"Hey everyone!" Despite the greeting, he has a very serious face on. He seems ready as everyone to help... somehow. Wondrous power is poured into the enemy vessel, and the boy can only hope it is effective. "You can do it...!" Steven calls out to everyone. From teamwork shown from two, through Fate and Endo, to Sourisi and Mikoto, to the displays of sheer force from a Knight, a Duelist, a Senshi, and a Sirene.

There is even an appearance from a certain giant woman, which on any other circumstance he would be so excited to see. The boy makes his way over toward Garnet and Opal. "Thank you... everyone."

The green glow grows brighter on the hand's approach. Will all these attacks, poured out from the heart, be enough to stop such a colossal ship? Part of him wonders because of the message he and a group of friends decoded that night on the beach.

Could they stand up to a threat such as this that someone would try to send a message just to warn them? All little Steven can doo for now is watch, biting his lip, and hope for the best.

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Out of the frying pan...

There is so much brilliance and light all of a sudden, so much more that it makes Chibi-Usa jump where she is, eyes widened in surprise as she finds herself, apparently, on a battlefield rather than the peaceful beach she'd hoped for. But through the explosions she hears--

Her name. ...Her present name, and the small, pink girl blinks, looks up, and sees across the beach--Sailor Mercury, up far away, and the others. She hesitates--hesitates, in time to hear Sailor Pluto's voice...

To see a beautiful column of light from a ghostly presence. So many others.

She shivers once, and it isn't entirely from the cold. Sailor Mercury runs over, concerned, and Chibi-Usa sees in her eyes the hurt of Sailor Jupiter, the pain of Sailor Moon...

And a girl who kept things from her. A girl whose teammate she took something from, and lost. The pink-haired girl looks miserable, for an instant--despairing--

She sees Sailor Uranus, too. And she shakes her head and runs past her, taking off across the beach heedless of what's before her.

...She's running towards the group. Towards those Steven are talking to, but veering towards the beach.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

As everyone and everything is on approach, the hand pays a grim sort of respect by shifting its pose. Instead of pointing almost lazily towards the Temple on the beach, it draws its fingers up and stiffens its palm -- a gesture of both deflection and dismissal.

Apparently, rightly so.

It's... impervious.

No -- perhaps not. The hull of the hand remains unscratched; no, untested.

Because of the field around it.

Whether blasted from afar or impacted up close and personal, all the invocations, the spells, the prayers, the slices -- the magic -- it all suffers the same fate.

Apparent dissipation into nothingness, at the hands of nothingness. The viciously black barrier that springs up, crackling with its own terrible opposition.

Like the spaceship, it is alien. Unlike the spaceship, it doesn't feel like it's alien because it's from... space.

It doesn't feel like it belongs on this world or any world.

It is antimatter to the matter of the lightning and wind and swords and spells. They fight with love. It fights with...

No one can see Garnet's eyes through her awesome mirrored shades, but everyone can feel them narrow. Apprehensive. And maybe just a little bit... puzzled.

Those who came close to it are blasted uncontrollably backwards to impact the sand with small mushroom clouds. Those who remained far from it see their own energies returned, tainted and perverted into hideous parodies of their former selves, and they, too, are each the center of their own terrible explosion.

No one stays -- or lands -- on their feet.

The hand shifts casually back into its pointing shape, and continues in its course towards the group. All the color in the world seems to saturate away, washed out into light and shadows, all of them green.

And then Steven arrives.

"Steven!" Garnet gasps, Garnet shouts. But -- there's no time, the ship is landing. Pearl panics, ripping out of the Opal fusion to fall flat on the beach and snap -- "What are you doing?! Get out of here!!"

Garnet shakes her head, grinds her teeth. FRUSTRATION. This is her last and greatest failure.

"It's too late! Just stay behind us!"

That ship, which has reached the waterline with another debris-sprouting impact, has opened into a cupped palm, a palm containing what looks to be three relatively human-sized figures.

Two are familiar: there's the witch who stole the ocean, Lapis. And there's the agent who sent all the goopy sphere robots, Peridot.

One is new. She is massive compared to the other two, broad in waist and shoulders, great in muscle and in hair, which pours down her head like a lion's mane. Markings somewhere between war paint and tattoos encase her left fist in red, make stripes around her massive biceps.

She wears a vast, dark cloak with a popped collar -- a captain sort of look, both in the sense of military and in the sense of in charge.

The sneering expression on Jasper's face does not further harm this impression.

Peridot is tall and thin beside her, and looks short and scrawny instead. Her voice is nasal as, in an echo of the ship that delivered her there, she points at the group.

"That's them, all right. THEY'RE the ones who keep breaking my machines," she identifies, aggrieved.

Jasper snorts. "This is it?"

"Jasper!" Peridot whines more than she snaps. "They keep interfering with my work!"

Jasper sighs. "Looks like another waste of my time..." When she steps forward, she's pulling someone else with her -- Lapis, held by the upper arm. "Hey, get over here! THIS is their base?"

Lapis strains, jerks her arm out of Jasper's grip, and then she, too, gasps -- an echo of Garnet -- at the sight of Steven.

Jasper watches her intently. "This is their base?"

Lapis' throat pulses as she swallows... then, slowly, nods. "Yes..."

Garnet advances; past the many small, child-filled craters, along with the other Crystal Gems. For the first time everyone gets to know how Steven feels, for better and for worse, because when she said 'stay behind us' she didn't just mean her beloved ward.

It is blatantly obvious that the Gems intend to interpose themselves between whatever is coming off that ship and every single other person here.

Because that's what they do. It's who they are. It is their destiny.

Like Jasper and Lapis, two of them make a dramatic contrast in build. But it's unlike, too. Garnet's brickhouse strength emphasizes Pearl's grace. Pearl's slender, sharp features emphasize Garnet's roundness, the perfection of her lack of sharp edges.

And Amethyst, something of a happy medium between the two in many respects, looks very much like she belongs.

"You need to leave immediately!" yells Garnet, cop-voiced.

"This is not a Gem-controlled planet!" adds Pearl, brandishing her sinuous spear.

<Pose Tracker> Amethyst [None] has posed.

Opal's attack was utterly useless, pointless, hopeless. Not a single scratch on the ship. Was there no stopping this thing? At least Steven was safe.

"Hey everyone!"

Was that... was that Steven's voice!? It couldn't be! Opal turns to see Steven there clear as day. The sudden shock forces her apart into her core components - Pearl and Amethyst. "You came back!" This couldn't be happening! Amethyst admires Steven's bravery and devotion to his friends and... family. Yes. They were family. She admired that about him, but was devastated that he was now in the line of fire against what seems to be unstoppable!

When the ship lands, it reveals two that Amethyst knows. Peridot, the enemy that was running the operations the Crystal Gems had to stop. Lapis, who gave them the message that they would be arriving. And... some Quartz. A full-sized one. This was bad.

Garnet and Pearl shout at the invaders, which was HER job! "Yeah," she defiantly shouts, "Step off!" She glares at Jasper as if trying to shoot laser beams from her eyes to melt her. She summons her signature whip, ready to recklessly charge in.

To Amethyst, fights were usually kind of fun. She loved the challenge. But now, with so many of her friends at risk, so much she cared about possibly soon to be destroyed...

This was no game, and she was NOT having fun.

COMBAT: Opal transforms into Amethyst Plus Whips!
COMBAT: Opal transforms into Terrifying Renegade Pearl!
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.

And in the wake of their attack - there it is - a black barrier. <Caution.> It's a brief warning that comes far too late. Their attack dissipating into nothing - no - worse than nothing.

Black lightning arcs back - and strikes her. Fate Testarossa shrieks.

And then everything went dark...

For at least a few seconds. Insensate - she regains consciousness as she plummets to the ground, striking it as a pluming column of sand erupts.

Rising - she looks - pained - as the hand shifts. <<Endo... are you alright? I've... lost track of you once I fell...>>

And as Steven arrives - "Steven... what... who are these... invaders...?"

And then it opens...

And... "Lapis?"

There's shock in her voice. Which turns into a light sense of betrayal. She doesn't understand what's going on - but she understands that Lapis Lazuli - who was freed from her imprisonment, who was healed by Steven - who was allowed to go home - has come back as part of this invasion force.

And yet it looks more complicated right away. She reasses that betrayal the moment that Jasper hauls her up by the arm... and Lapis jerks out of her grip - and points out their base.

Right now she's glad that the gems are at the front line - because right now she's hurt. She absolutely wants to be protected. Garnet had always been so protective of her feelings whenever she was hurt. It felt good for someone that felt like a mother to want to protect her.

Right now her voice sounds a little small, much more the child than before, "... Lapis they're making you do this right? You don't... really want to be doing this."

Her eyes look to Steven - as if pleading for him to talk to her.

Right now things felt really grim - and it felt like their only hope was if Steven and the Crystal Gems knew how to handle this. After Shinjuku...

... she felt shaken. Like something had changed. And all the things she learned no longer applied.

Because while the Crystal Gems might take the front line. There was one girl that had fought her hardest for what she believed in... and yet she never will again.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mercury can see the look of despair and sadness in Chibi-Usa's eyes. With her gesture rejected, she watches as the younger girl runs towards the group and the magical team that has formed in front of the water. "Chibi-Usa! Please stop! Just tell us what happened!" She is running behind her as she calls out.

Looking with concern to the other senshi, "We have to stay close to her guys. She's not safe out there!" If she can't get her to stop, Mercury is determined to do her best to keep her safe from harm. She would never be able to forgive herself if something happened to Chibi-Usa and in a lot of ways she feels responsible for her running off in the first place.

Mercury looks down at Luna as they approach closer to the coastline and the looming hand, "She must be so scared Luna..." Before another word can be uttered, she finds herself caught off-guard as she is thrown backwards and lands hard in the sand. By the time Mercury regains her bearings a little, all she can see is the hand which changes forms and then lands with the figures emerging shortly afterwards.

Looking for Luna, Mercury sees the small cat laying nearby and she runs over to her, gently picking her up and cradling the sand-covered black cat her arms. "Luna... are you okay?" She tries to help by dusting some of the sand off.

As she looks across the horizon, Mercury tries to pick out where Chibi-Usa was just as Garnet ushers her warning to them. She stays back but looks at the other senshi, "Jupiter, can you guys look for Chibi-Usa. Please make sure she's okay. I am going to stay here so I can find out what's going on." There is a lot of concern in the sailor guardian's eyes as she listens to the conversation between the gems.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

It's not the first time that the Magic Knight of Wind has seen the wind turned against her, and gods willing, she'll live through this to witness such things again - but that doesn't really stop her from getting blasted off her feet as a vortex twists through the air to hurl her to the sand, tumbling her head-over-heels; her glasses are at least close enough to grab hold of when she comes to a halt. But she doesn't need glasses to *hear*.

The alien Gems. The enemies of Garnet and Amethyst and Pearl and Steven - the natural enemies, one might say. If they are, in fact, natural ...

Well. That's not really the question here, is it?

Brushing sand off her glasses and setting them back in place, the Wind Knight peers at the alien Gems. She remembers Lapis Lazuli well enough, and while she's only seen Peridot once, it's not a meeting that she'll forget before, say, college. Or maybe graduate school. And yet the yellow figure between them - Jasper? - is built like ...

Not like a gem, thinks the Wind Knight, but like a stone that just happens to be precious. Or would be, if it weren't so obviously prepared to smash whatever came up against it.

The Wind Knight stays hunkered down, watching quietly. But just because she's quiet doesn't mean she's passive - she's sizing up the three alien Gems, recalling their previous encounters, gauging what Lapis and Peridot and Jasper have *visibly* among them, contemplating what else their hand-shaped ship might add to the upcoming battle. Because if the Crystal Gems can't prevail through words, be they words of logic or of emotion, then only force of arms will determine the outcome.

Well. Force of arms ... and force of magic. And that's where she believes strongly that the gathered magical girls can tilt the odds - just like they did against Queen Beryl.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Mercury can see the look of despair and sadness in Chibi-Usa's eyes. With her gesture rejected, she watches as the younger girl runs towards the group and the magical team that has formed in front of the water. "Chibi-Usa! Please stop! Just tell us what happened!" She is running behind her as she calls out.

Looking with concern to the other senshi, "We have to stay close to her guys. She's not safe out there!" If she can't get her to stop, Mercury is determined to do her best to keep her safe from harm. She would never be able to forgive herself if something happened to Chibi-Usa and in a lot of ways she feels responsible for her running off in the first place.

Mercury looks down at Luna as they approach closer to the coastline and the looming hand, "She must be so scared Luna..." Before another word can be uttered, she finds herself caught off-guard as she is thrown backwards and lands hard in the sand. By the time Mercury regains her bearings a little, all she can see is the hand which changes forms and then lands with the figures emerging shortly afterwards.

Looking for Luna, Mercury sees the small cat laying nearby and she runs over to her, gently picking her up and cradling the sand-covered black cat her arms. "Luna... are you okay?" She tries to help by dusting some of the sand off.

As Mercury looks across the horizon, she tries to pick out where Chibi-Usa was just as Garnet ushers her warning to them. While she stays back for now, the sailor guardian does pull out her communicator. "Guys, we need help at the beach. Chibi-Usa is here but there's more... I don't have time to explain now but please come as soon as you can!" She closes the communicator to focus on the conversation between the gems.

<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Sourisi threw her tonfa, she expected something to happen, such as her tonfa merely bouncing off, denting the bright green metal or maybe even tearing slight holes into the metal.

What was not expected was a dark field of...lightning, no ice, wait, hexagons-whatever it was to repel the tonfa and Sourisi outwards and away from the descending ship.

Seconds that felt like minutes pass as Sourisi uncontrollably tumbles through the air, the world tumbling patches of green, with a grainy mass of green getting all the closer. A cloud of sand is sent flying upwards as Sourisi's body digs a trench through the beach, with the mouse girl only coming to a complete halt after several meters. Groaning, Sourisi opens her eyes again and pushes down the urge to lose her lunch, taking in a deep breath to collect herself and for her to realize that she was actually alright. Body stinging from landing and needing to spit out some sand, but overall alright. The mouse girl does flinch slightly as one of her tonfa lands inches from her head, the rear head landing point first, but a gloved hand reaches out to grasp her returned weapon. "Bleh...just what was that? Some sort of force field?"

The entire ground shakes as the hand-ship lands, helping Sourisi shake off her shock and focus outwards at the beach. She was so far away, with Steven and the Gems the size of ants from this distance, but she could see three figures emerge from the ship. "So the other Gems have landed and are coming out? Just what are they, bleh, planning?" Pushing herself upright, Sourisi knows she won't find any answers here in the bottom of this crater, and if the enemy Gems are exiting, then there may be a chance to still save Earth.

A stumbling walk forward quickly turns into a jog, and soon Sourisi is rushing back towards the ship, collecting her other discarded tonfa along the way.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Air Sourisi is experiencing some turbulence.

... that's a bit of an understatement.

Miroku bites, and finds the smooth teeth of its exquisite edges in a dark field - black on black. Nothingness overwhelmingly challenges obsidian, doesn't give an inch, and Mikoto's screaming takes on an alarmed tone as she is blasted back from the point of impact.


She blinks, wearily, pain setting her jaw as she raises her head. She feels - stunned, as if -

- ah. Sand. Mikoto's free hand curls around it. (Her other, her dominant hand, still clutches Miroku; she hadn't let go, even as the impact dazed her.) She's on the ground again. How did that -

- ah. The ship. Untouched. Mikoto forces herself standing, shaking the bleariness from herself. The ship is coming, her enemies are coming, and she must fight.

She takes an unsteady step forward and it is all she needs to regain her footing. She tenses to charge.

Except -

'It's too late! Just stay behind us!'

Mikoto staggers as she looks up at her enemy, of a woman who has crushed her friends with her fists time and again, as she speaks with such maternal concern for all of them.

"I..." Mikoto hesitates, disbelieving as she stares at her, trying to ascertain the trick. She has never known a mother, has never known a sister or an aunt or a grandmother, has never built defenses against an adult woman trying to care for her.

It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make any sense at all. Garnet is her enemy, even if Mikoto has been convinced to stay her blade, and she should be happy to throw her into battle. She shouldn't be so concerned. That's not how any of this works.

Her face is writ naked with her confusion and her disbelief and her vulnerability and a deep and terrible pain.

It means she is not there, before them, when the ship lands. It means she is still behind them.

It means that when more women who don't smell right emerge, Mikoto is not there to strike them down.

It means, for once, she fails to attack as soon as possible.

Mikoto's chin ducks and her sword raises to protect her chest as those wild eyes fall on something else which might have been yellow, were it not for the overwhelming green light. Her expression is guarded again, growling quietly, lips curled over upper teeth.

She is good at threat prioritisation.

And that woman is a threat.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Pluto uses the split-seconds after releasing her attack to scan the battlefield. Allies and adversaries both are here, and new strange faces -- like the incredibly tall woman with the extra set of arms, she warrants a pause and a long look. Mikoto, and Fate Testarossa, a strange cast of light from la Sirene... Too many to take in all at once, and still the senshi wonders, is it anywhere near enough?

On she looks, seeking the source of those dark crimson petals. The fury and furor of Kasagami Araki draws the eye, as ever, and garnet eyes in particular. Across the sands she casts a look, and her eyes are as sad as Kassie's are angry. She gives her love that much, if she cannot manage a smile.

But something keeps drawing her gaze on, an urgent sense of something amiss, like she's seen something but doesn't quite...

There -- there. Pink puffs, bouncing with every running step, and the rhythm of Puu's heart races to match Small Lady's headlong pace. What is she doing here? She barely registers the blue of Sailor Mercury nearby. Even as Pluto's first step kicks up sand, she hears the overhead crackle of something wrong and dark--

--and gets walloped sidelong by the boomeranged force of her own Chronos Typhoon, is subject herself to the elongated torment of a vicious battering within a second that streeeetches--

Next she knows, the Guardian of Time is spitting sand and pushing herself up out of the same, half-buried in a crater she doesn't remember making. Grains grit into her eyes and she scrubs them clear with scuffed gloves, desperate to see. When she finally can, again, she's only looking for one person.

And as soon as she sees Small Lady she's on her feet again and running.

That long hair streams out behind, and as Sailor Pluto runs full out she sees the invading force make their entrance from edge of her vision. She hears their threat, and the response of the Crystal Gems. The sound of Garnet's voice as she tells them all to stay behind them...

It only drives her to run harder, her legs protesting this second extreme demand in so short a span. She ignores their complaints.

"Small Lady! Wait! It is not safe!"

As soon as the words leave her mouth Pluto knows them for absurd, after the day's events. What is safe, now? But there is safer, and that does not lie in the direction of the alien spaceship's fearful occupants and Steven and the Crystal Gems.

"Please, Small Lady! Let me protect you!" She's so far... Pluto will never get there in time.

It feels so terribly familiar.

<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It is perhaps not a huge surprise, in a grand sense, that la Sirene's pining feelings of despair, regret and grief come back to bite her. They are relatively silent, at least, although the pouring down of the inverted anti-light from above means that, despite that same strange shadows-but-no-light effect -- her creaking rise to an elbow, and faint groan, come with a strange ache in her body.

Like sunburn. Even her clothes seem faded, albeit almost entirely on the left side, presenting a gray-to-black gradient. Batiste, having been sheltered by her body, is not so bleached.

He is also scouting round the rim of the crater.

"What," la Sirene breathes as she creaks awake.

"Gems, I think," Batiste says. "Crystal Gems, like Garnet and her -" Batiste sort of lets that sentence stop because he isn't sure how to end it.

La Sirene gets the idea, even as she sweeps her hair back. Breathing is a struggle, but one that eases up. "But not friendly," she says.

"I do not think so, no," Batiste says. He then ducks below the lip of the crater, perhaps having thought Peridot might be looking towards him.

La Sirene stands up, heavily. "Should I claim to be Carbonado?" she asks Batiste, even as she tightens up the damaged lacing on her left glove.

"I do not think that will work," the otter says.

La Sirene's pale eyes turn towards the encounter, but she is, at least, regaining her footing for now.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Cure Bloom slams toward that hand, undaunted by its changed position and barrier. Mai's not here, but she's still in that city! So are Michiru, and Kaoru! She won't just be defeated! She--

Pongs off the barrier like she hit a Sonic springboard, rocketing back toward the ground like her vector were swung about without ever changing her actual speed. She slams into the beach near the Crystal Gems once, kicks up a cloud of dust, and ricochets off, pinwheeling uncontrolled for an aching few seconds before a larger, more densely-packed dune welcomes her home with a massive POOF of silicate.

It takes a full thirty seconds before she collapses forward onto her face, and another ten after that before she plants a hand under her and attempts to stand. It's more like a weaving, exhausted lurch upward. "What....was that," she croaks out, barely on her feet.

"It wasn't the Power of Destruction-lapi...but I felt something terrifying-lapi! A very dark power-lapi!"

Bloom sways, and forces herself to clamber out of the meters-deep hole she blew in the beach. "Fine," she mutters. "That's just...fine. Mai's trusting that I'll protect everyone...Michiru and Kaoru, too! So I have to--"

She lays eyes on the Crystal Gems, arrayed in defensive posture. And the creatures from afar - like them but not. Bubbling with malice.

She starts to trudge across the sand, refusing to let the lead in her legs slow her.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Black fire is swallowed by black nothing, and Endo falls.

Back to earth, through the atmosphere, extinguished debris returning from a celestial journey. He crashes into the breach in a puff of sand, forming a tiny crater at the point where his body returns to earth. He lies in the dark, down there in the earth.

- Endo... are you alright? -

Fate's voice is like a spark, setting Endo's thoughts spinning and colliding, burning away the dark as purple flame reignites in the sword buried beside him. Fate is here. His friends are here. An enemy is here too, to threaten them again.

<I'm coming.>

He's far away, but moving forward. Ignoring the ache and the pain as he sets his gaze on the massive hand that's lowered itself into the bay. He goes toward it, slowly. Slowly, but surely.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.


For the second time today, Kasagami Araki is on her back. This time though? It's from the reflection of her own magical lashing of a strike! She blinks amidst her crater, and finds her own power returned to her. Roses flutter amidst her landing zones, and she waves away her now slashed left arm and the resulting fluttering bits of her hoodie she'd donned on the way here.

Peridot the machinist, that Steven so offered kindness to. Lapis , the effortless waterly swordswoman (???) that was unsealed and began this whole effort. Kasagami Araki peers at both of them as they argue, and Jasper dismisses all of the earth-bound magical girls. Including herself.

The Gems urge them to stay behind. Kasagami hauls her booted legs into the air amidst her crater, and leaps out of it. She starts to brush herself off. Then she lays her wooden nodachi across her shoulders. Three enemies before her. That massive one? She's an intimidating figure, even for someone who's fought so hard so many times. And yet? The massive, tattoo'd warrior excites her. Just how strong is she? Would sharpening herself up against such an alien threat make her that much more capable of regaining her own status?

And so Kasagami Araki shifts her blade to one hand, and points straight at the largest of the trio. But her good eye shifts to Lapis.

Pluto is rushing to protect the 'Small Lady'. It only makes Kassie's hands grip her sword harder. She isn't sure who this is. But as she remembers the first time they broke thanks to the blonde twintailed wielding Usagi? Her body shivers. And then she rushes forward.

Her gaze narrows, and finally? The young woman is rushing first towards Lapis. One at a time, in her mind. Best to clash with like, and she gazes with Mikoto for a second. Then she's charging for the alien Gem!

<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

The blasts back quickly make everything worse; crackling power crashes back towards them, and Chibi-Usa finds herself ducking down in the sand with a shriek, covering her head with her hands. "Aaah--!"

She sure doesn't stay on her feet, even if she didn't send an attack; Luna-P hovers around her, bobbling with the same old expression as always as she peeks up, looks over at... the landing ship, the people here...

And a familiar way of speaking, a familiar kind of authority. And these--Chibi-Usa shrinks back as she hears Jasper and Peridot speak, as she sees Lapis with them. But Garnet--that's the thing that really sinks in. She steps in front of them, and instead of Gems, Chibi-Usa sees something different; she sees familiar figures that she nevertheless hasn't seen in some time. ...Figures she hasn't seen because of--

Her eyes widen--and indeed she scoots back, definitely abrubtly fine with keeping Garnet and Pearl between her and them--and Amethyst, too.

She hesitates, though--Mercury was calling after her, and she... sure didn't stop. She can get away pretty quickly, especially for someone so small. But Pluto...

Another figure. Chibi-Usa, making herself very small, scrambles behind a pile of sand and... looks over to Sailor Pluto. Just for a moment. There's no way to reach her in time, no. ...And her hiding place is, frankly, just so much sand... with obvious, obvious pink hair poking out from behind.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

"We're coming as fast as we can, Mercury!" Jupiter's voice pipes in through her wrist, and the others affirm with a sharp, unified "RIGHT!"


Garnet and Pearl exchange a look and it intersects Amethyst, and in the midst of all this fear -- Pearl is trembling. Garnet's vibration is subtler but also present, the grains of sand around her feet, they hum -- in the midst of it, Amethyst can feel their pride, their pride in her, shared between them. An unbreakable bond.

There's chaos behind them, some girls watching and others rushing, and their response is to close ranks. Despite their differences in height, their determination to be a wall between the humans and the ship has only grown.

Jasper smirks.

She smirks at Amethyst's whip and the vibrating tip of Pearl's spear and Garnet's... everything.

The mass of humanity behind them, at this juncture, is entirely beneath her notice.

"And neither of you saw Rose Quartz?" That wasn't even directed at the Crystal Gems nor their allies -- defiance ignored. No, she's interrogating her crewmates, or prisoners, or whatever they are. Subordinates. That is succinct and extremely accurate. "What a shame. I'd hoped to meet her... I was looking forward to beating her into the ground!"

She clenches her red fist, her biceps straining. Lapis nibbles her lower lip, more and more nervous, distress growing visibly within her, while Peridot just seems kind of impatient.

"But this is all that's left of her army? Some lost, defective Pearl," her gaze moves next to Amethyst, "A puny, overcooked runt," and finally Garnet, who she almost looks past, in the way that someone might politely look past someone naked in public, "And this shameless display?"

Her eyes land on Steven. "What is that?"

Garnet summons her gauntlets, joining the other two Crystal Gems in brandishing them, a clear warning.

"It calls itself the Steven," Peridot announces, boredly.

Lapis throws herself in front of Jasper. She doesn't shout -- she begs, arms spread wide, fingers even wider. For a brief moment she, too, is a wall. "He's just a human! He isn't a threat at all! He's not one of them!"

"I know what a human is," Jasper grunts, glancing past Steven to the beach-full of other humans. Her eyes briefly alight upon the distinctively pink hair of Chibi-Usa.

And her grin widens, grotesque in its greed.

"...and I know what a Rabbit is."



"Ohohoho! My reinforcements have arrived, and you are out of time."


"Of course he had to let me intervene, and diplomacy will succeed where all your wonton flailing did not! Failure after failure, to kill the Rabbit, to retrieve the Silver Crystal. Your incompetence is truly stunning, to anger such a gentle Prince. This time tomorrow you will be officially relieved of your duties in the 20th century... and I will have already finished your job before the end of tonight! OhhhhohohohohoooooooPink Moon Stick (talk)!

The green-haired woman, her three massive Gems glittering on her chest, veils her laughter with her fan as she transports off the bridge.

Rubeus folds his arms and spits, once Esmeraude is gone.

"...bitch. Like hell will I let you do whatever you want..."



Peridot's image in the control panel at the kindergarden fizzes out when Amethyst crushes the crystal power source.

The last thing anyone hears from her are two words that are a blend of deferential, timid, and very slightly sulky.

"--My Emerald!"

And then everything goes dark.



"You don't need me for this," Jasper concludes boredly. "Just blast them with the ship."

"Ugh," Peridot huffs, like a teenager called upon to do her own chores by an implacable mother. "Fine."

She taps her screen, and the ship begins to charge power. A vast green energy beam builds at a huge fingertip.

"Steven! Get out of here! I won't let you risk your life!" screams Garnet.

There are other urgent moments, too. Nobody is able to catch up to each other in time -- those who pursue a loved one find themselves critical paces away at the moment of truth. Those charging back in make it back just in time to be directly in the path of the rapidly rising energy. The very air sings with it, and the genre is dirge.

"Firing," Peridot announces coolly.

And everything explodes -- with blackness. As the blast lost contact with the tip of the hand's finger, it passed through the horrible field around it, and like the girls' attacks, it is tainted, amplified, becoming less and therefore so, so much more.


<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

For all the effort in the world the Magical Girls arrayed spare none. Yet, in some strange, foreign way, the hand reflects all efforts of attacks back to their wielder. "Oh no!" Steven gasps, as people take the brunt of their own magical fury. Upon hearing the chastisement of his caretakers, Steven assumes a place behind Pearl, watching carefully. Waiting. The boy looks toward Amethyst, appreciating her sentiment of his return. He is glad to be by her side, and everyone else here in this trying time.

Steven finally manages speak, as pupils of szure are the only color that cut through the tint of the ship light.

"L-Lapis!" he says quietly, looking more intently at the situation. She tried to warn everyone!

The boy looks to those whom suffered their own retribution, and turns to leave from behind Pearl, when he hears his name, and causes him to bristle, and finds himself paralyzed momentarily as he is now the focus of attention from that massive Gem.

The boy turns back, looking at this imperious figure. The boy looks over towards Fate, who suffered a terrible lightning strike. "Gems," he whispers. "Not good ones. Except Lapis." A look toward her. "I think. Long story." It is doubtful Lapis is on their side. It looks like she is being muscled around by this... Jasper.

The magical warriors knocked to and fro begin to reassemble onto the scene. Some look worse off than others, but non seem down for the count just yet. And it is highly doubtful that at the condemnation of the Crystal Gems, that they will just walk off and leave.

Before he can turn to help anyone approaching, the attention drawn to him makes him bristle and freeze in his steps, turning back to the assembled. An exchange happens, as they seem to be seeking-- his mother. "Wh..." What do they want with her?!

"...Turn against her own kind..."

Oh no.

The enemies array decide they do not wish to parley or even speak further, as Peridot readies that terrible ship. It points in a mechanical, unfeeling manner at those gather, and begins summoning tremendous power. "NO!" Steven calls over the clarion call of gathering force. "This is my home! My Friends! And you are all my family!" Tears well in his eyes as the final moments of their stand are upon them.

The boy with the gem in his navel feems something deep within.

Something calls to him, but he knows what he must do. It is what his mother would do.

In this most dire of moments, the child whom the Crystal Gems adore and protect flies at the very thing that will be their undoing.

"I'm a Crystal Gem too!!!"

The malevolent blast grows in size, power, and sound on imminent impact as the little boy, who knows not if he will remain existing after this decision.

The impact of black never comes.

A sound peals out. almost deafening. Some present may recognize it. The Water Clones. The Proto-daimons. A deep, sonorous harmony of rippling sound, and the feeling of a trambling impact. A glow cust through the green tint. When the sand blast calms. A massive shield, roseate in color, stands firm, and a little boy stands against it, doing everything he can just to maintain it for a few precious seconds to prevent destruction.

And it succeeded.

And little Steven Universe collapses as the shield fades. Groaning and exhaling.

<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Jasper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocpJOripaVk&t=47

Jasper had turned away with a ruffle of her captain's cloak, not even bothering to watch the detonation, but the pink at the corner of her eye draws her attention back just in time to see--

"That shield! That symbol!"

--it's a lot more than a big pink shield.

Buddy, it's the big pink shield.

The rosevine markings. The sigil in the center.

The sound.

Little Steven Universe saves everyone present.

It takes everything he has, but the job is done -- the destiny Garnet promised, fulfilled -- as the legacy of Rose Quartz intercepts the massive blast and... withstands it, before his strength fails and the shield, correspondingly, flickers away.

Not so much as a hair on anyone's head is ruffled.

The same cannot be said for the Gem on the ship.

Jasper knows her enemy, and she is... shocked.

"You!" she shouts, "You have the power of Rose Quartz!" What is that emotion? Anger? ...eagerness?

"Now do you believe I needed an escort?" grumbles Peridot. Jasper glares at her.

"Fire a barrage! Widespread!"

Peridot swipes a finger across her panel, and the ship cuts a quick line across the beach. It's a lesser explosion but well-distributed, and momentarily, everyone is lost to each other in the sand, smoke, and steam.

It's possible to hear Jasper, though, as she approaches the group. Approaches...

"Rose," Jasper asks, urgently, as though she's, if anything, concerned, "Why do you look like that? Why are you so weak?"

"DON'T HURT HIM!" A scream. Lapis' scream. Desperate.

The sand ground beneath Jasper's heel as she turns on Lapis is also audible. "You knew about this!"


"FORGET ABOUT THE MISSION!" Jasper bellows back.

"WHAT?!" shrieks Peridot.

"Yellow Diamond needs to see this... thing."

The smoke clears as though it's been dispersed by the sheer hot-air force of the Gem commander's disdain -- and there she is, Jasper is standing over Steven, glaring down at him like one regards a squished spider or excessively filthy bathroom.

Of course everyone wants to move now, to save him, to return this recent and dramatic favor. And they can move; they are legends and they have legendary abilities. Some are lightning fast; some think lightning fast; all are propelled, in a pinch, by the primal and perfect power of the heart.

But only one of them saw this coming.

Garnet leaps at Jasper, who grins savagely. "Good."

Her weapon finally materializes, and it is, apparently, a massive helmet. Jasper likes to face her problems Head On.

But, also, the Homeworld Gem pulls out a strange weapon -- totally unfamiliar to all present, even the ones who are themselves from other worlds, technologically advanced worlds -- it's some kind of golden rod, with some kind of yellow energy crackling inside of it.

"Priming Destabilizer," Jasper announces, and the contrast to Peridot's bored invocations of the ship is stark -- she is savagely excited.

It's over so quickly, after that.

They close with each other, these two women, each the largest and strongest of their team --

-- Garnet punches Jasper solidly on the shoulder --

-- Jasper socks Garnet in the chest with the Destabilizer --

-- and it isn't the same at all, it wasn't an equivalent exchange --

-- it isn't fair --

-- something is wrong --

-- cracks travel along Garnet, bisecting her, up and down her chest, branching off into rectangular fragments down her limbs. It takes a second and it takes a lifetime, the way it seems to infect her whole body, finally splitting her sunglasses, absolute proof that they're no accessory but a real part of her --

-- and there's a final, much smaller explosion.

Much worse.

When the cloud clears, there's nothing left of Garnet to be seen. Just a couple of rocks on the ground, one red and one blue.

She's gone. Destroyed.

Jasper grins with triumph, and turns back towards Steven... and friends.

COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe transforms into Jasper!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Deliriousness is the first thing that comes back to Steven. FOr a few seconds, the boy can barely process anything. Sounds like voices play in his ear... talking voices. Did someone say Rose? "Wh..." is all Steven can let out. Everything becomes clearer and clearer. When everything comes back, he can see Jasper looking down at him. The boy leans himself up on an elbow. He is too weak to move.

He wants to say something to Jasper when he is addressed, but nothing comes. His mind is fuzzy. When it is mentioned he is to be taken to shown to someone named Yellow Diamond, Steven starts to panic, though Garnet flying at Jasper helps calm him, if only slightly.

And then it happens.

Jasper uses some sort of tool to strike Garnet, and within moments, it is over. She falls into pieces, a horrified look in her eyes. Her gemstones are all that is left.

"G... Garnet..." is all that comes out as tears stream down his face. Jasper stands there, having hardly broken a sweat. The boy is terrified right now. The boy tries to make it to his knees, desperately trying to find strength and make purchase on movement. He cannot.

He reaches desperately for those gemstones, but is unable to make contact.

He can't do anything.

Except quietly weep. And hope for his friends sake they can do something.

<Pose Tracker> Amethyst [None] has posed.

This was the end. The ship's weapon fires, annihilating everyone. The bad Gems won. Amethyst watches her life flash before her eyes as she half-accepts her destruction, half rebels at the thought of everything and everyone she knows being destroyed. This was it.

She opens her eyes slowly to see Steven blocking the blast with his mother's shield. "Steven... you..." She watches him fall, definitely not needing to hold back tears or anything her eyes are just like that. "...good job dude. We'll... we'll handle the rest."

Fear, worry, and shock burn up from Amethyst's anger. "For Steven!" She charges into battle, ready to wreck Jasper and Peridot. Her charge was stopped shortly by the spreadshot, and then by the shock of Jasper taking down Garnet. "G-garnet, no! Grrr....!" She curls up into a ball as if defeated, but then starts spinning like a digital hedgehog before barrelling directly at Jasper.

COMBAT: Amethyst has used Spinball on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly dodges 40 Fatigue damage from Amethyst's Spinball, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
Critical Dodge!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

When her Emerald Cyclone was twisted back at her, the Wind Knight didn't really get a good look at the force field which did it. But when the Gems' ship launches its attack, she sees what's happening *far* too well for comfort. She doesn't have remotely enough time to flee, barely time to muster enough magic for a Winds of Protection barrier -

And then Steven takes the full blast upon his shield.

Only the first blast. Fortunately, the second assault is spread out - and this is the one which the Winds of Protection help to stave off. Possibly she didn't need to worry as much about protecting against it, but for the second time in has it only been a week? - she's furious; this battle has quickly become incredibly personal.

Steven is down. Garnet, by the time the Wind Knight can see again, has been *obliterated*. Pearl and Amethyst are still standing, but ...


But they can't fight against power like that. Not without help - not without a *LOT* of help. And the Magic Knight of Wind will put everything she's got into providing as much of that help as she's able - trying to immobilize Jasper, or at least to hinder the enemy Gem's movements. Trying to do what she was too angry to do to the proto-daimon - to fight smart, to create whatever advantages she can for her allies in the hopes of evening the odds, just enough to prevail ...

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Admonishment on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 9 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Winds of Admonishment, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Fuu Hououji is
Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Block and Parry abilities activate!  Cripple applied to Hotaru Tomoe!
<Pose Tracker> Fate Testarossa [Infinity Institute (5)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Msl1vOzuTlI

So much happens all at once. Jasper says a lot - and she understands very little. But she understands the way she's looking at Chibi-Usa. Fate's grip tightens on Bardiche. But - she's not fighting them. The casual way she just announces for the Green gem to just blast them. It's like announcing their execution. The way Garnet screams for Steven to get out of there.

Part of her wishes that... <<Fate-chan! You need to get out of there! Go-!>> Oh. She got her wish after all. The urgency in her head breaks into a crescendo as the green gem announces she's firing - as the normally calm and military command increased in urgency. <<FATE! MOVE!>>

It was going to hurt and she knew it. But... it felt nice to know that.

The blackness explodes out of the ship.

And then a boy leaps forward - an impact against a giant pink shield. Roseate. She'd seen it before seen it in similar displays but this - this felt like it was a different level.

The sound rings out like a clarion call. And...

"Steven... you..." <<... Thank Goodness.>> There is so much relief in those two words placed directly in her thoughts that it cannot be expressed. And the gems are arguing - Lapis trying to protect Steven - and...

The commander steps forward.

And then... then...

Garnet. Garnet who always knew what to do. If Garnet was charging Jasper it felt far more safe - the situation was handled. Until... it isn't.

Whatever wicked device she prods her with - Fate's expression grows overwhelmed with shock as - she splits apart - explodes - "NO! NO!" She screams.

Garnet is gone. Just like Mami Tomoe.

"No... no... no... it can't be... she can't... just like..."

She couldn't do anything - she couldn't do anything. This time she was there! This time she should have been able to do something - but no. Instead she could only watch. Just like she could only watch her own mother fall into the abyss. The only thing she could do now is - <Haken Form.>

Fate takes off into the air - Bardiche still mid-shift, she's flourishing him even as the hooked blade forms. And her shout of accusation is simple - "MONSTER!" <Haken Saber> The scythe blade detaches, barreling at the Commander in a serpentine arc before it winds to try and drive against her- "GET OFF THIS WORLD!"

It may not be her usual word to trigger the explosion that follows... "LEAVE!" But it absolutely explodes anyhow. Detonating with the sound of thunder.

COMBAT: Fate Testarossa has used Haken Saber on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe partially dodges 12 Fatigue damage from Fate Testarossa's Haken Saber, taking 48 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Hit!  Hotaru Tomoe's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> La Sirene de Diamant [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

As the yellow weapon touches Garnet, Batiste has the sudden feeling to the depths of his tail that he has made a bad mistake.

La Sirene de Diamant feels her entire body go gradually cold as Garnet is rent asunder in front of her. The world contracts and expands at the same time. The two parts of Garnet sparkle and the entire world seems to hollow out to a stage, with the new arrivals and the remains of Garnet on one side and la Sirene on the other.

It happened again, she thinks.

There is someone else there, a shadow. The outlines of the boy Steven are not too similar to that of the girl Madoka and yet there is the same. She sees the color pink and she smells the distinctive living scent of tears.

La Sirene de Diamant's arms lift at her sides as she feels her head tilt forwards. Her heart beats once.

it's happening again but





The faint darkling veil around her huddles closer, as if for warmth... and catches fire. The luminous aura spreads out behind her, more like a living thing than a candle-flame, and la Sirene's eyes stare dead on at Jasper as she speaks. Her voice is deeper than it usually is, but perhaps that's just fury, or grief.

"You think you can come here, to the Chevaliers? Eh! Les Mysteres!" La Sirene's already upraised hand snaps into the familiar charm, the rippling light flowing out in a much more coruscant form, passing with only grace over Steven as it flies, aimed at Jasper - no, at Jasper's wrist, her hand. Her weapon. The sphere is tight-wound now, laced with a red thread.

La Sirene steps forwards, exactly one inch off the ground. Her other hand sweeps towards the great green ship. "You there! Get! Go and never return! Fly into a star and regret that you ever heard of this planet!"

La Sirene's head swivels then as she looks straight at Jasper. She is stalking forwards. Batiste pursues, at a healthy remove. "Not you," she says to Jasper, eyes and lips contorting. The fury is a thin alloy over grief, but sometimes you only need a little to get where you're going.

COMBAT: La Sirene de Diamant has used Les Mysteres on Hotaru Tomoe.
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

And that threat spies a Rabbit - Mikoto glances back at that hungry look, sees the child, feels her heart sink - and speaks so many words which Mikoto does not understand. And some she does, as Jasper dismisses all their lives in a moment.

Mikoto's breath catches in her throat, a gasp which contracts painfully at her chest and freezes there as the ship gathers energy, blasts it through the field and creates a stream of nothingness. It's the same principle which slammed her so agonisingly into the ground, as if cleaved there by the force of her very own blade.

And there is nothing she can do, her eyes wide and pinpricked as she confronts her own mortality in one horrible, overwhelming moment. She is running out of air.

She sees all the people she has failed. All the people she will leave behind. All the people whose smiles she will never see again all because she could do nothing but run directly at a threat.

Her lips shape a sound and the sound is Mai and there is no breath on her lips because she cannot breathe in this moment at all.

But there's someone else who can.

'I'm a Crystal Gem too!!!'

And it is such utter determination and there is a crash of noise unlike anything Mikoto has ever heard before. Noise and light and sand.

And then the sand settles and it is a shield. A shield adorned with roses and it fades and the boy falls.

- and Mikoto, with a shuddering gasp, remembers how to breathe.

She does not freeze again, when Jasper calls for a widespread barrage. She leaps, she dives, she rolls away from the awful blast, and instead of catching a cat it catches the sand she'd been standing on. The shockwave cracks, makes it difficult to rise for one tense moment.

Mikoto coughs against the sand as she springs up, quicker than she should but they are attacking and she must be ready. The scent of heated sand assaults her nose; plumes of smoke assault her eyes; the touch of falling sand assaults her skin. For a moment, Miroku in her iron grip, she just stands as she listens.

Her head snaps towards Jasper's voice, and she snarls. There! The steps forward she takes are deliberate but not quick, given the debris of the battlefield. Even though her ears tell her where Jasper is, she still can't see. Still can't smell. Both those senses are so essential, to her - and the aggravating touch of sand only makes things so much worse.

And then, all at once, it clears, and Jasper is there in all her disdain. And so is Garnet - horrible, confusing Garnet - closest and quickest to pounce.

Jasper wields a weapon against her and her destruction is terrible and complete. Mikoto snarls, as Garnet breaks apart so much closer to a Witch than a person, all technological lines and accessories like body parts and she explodes. It is an act of horrific violence, inhuman both in form and in function.

... she is an enemy, and Mikoto does not call out for her with grieving tones, but her eyes are damp and her grip white-knuckled for the strange and quickly-suppressed feeling of regret that she will never understand why Garnet protected her.

Mikoto doesn't see the rocks, falling down.

Her eyes are on a different rock entirely.

That woman wants to take Steven. Steven, that cute little boy who shared his hotdogs, who has a backpack which looks like food, who is accompanied by the largest and pinkest cat Mikoto has ever met. Mikoto does not know Steven well - but he is barely a child. Even if he really is a warrior...

... normal children like that... shouldn't have to be.

... and he's not even the only child under threat here.

Mikoto snarls, and she is harsh and sharp as she charges forward, swinging 360-degrees as Miroku kicks up sand before she plants her feet and swings all that overwhelming force into the side of this yellow invader who has no scent but an overwhelming unmistakable sense of threat.

"Not children!" Mikoto snarls as the blade comes up, and it is bestial and savage and she cannot possibly know how difficult it is to say the words of warning instead of simply screaming in her face.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Destruction on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe braces 21 Fatigue damage from La Sirene de Diamant's Les Mysteres, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Hotaru Tomoe's
Block and Parry abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe counters 14 Fatigue damage from Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Destruction, taking 43 Fatigue damage!
Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Destabilizer, partially gets through, doing 16 Fatigue damage to Mikoto Minagi!  Critical
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into Mikoto Minagi!
<Pose Tracker> Sailor Pluto [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Small Lady scrambles for the most dubious of refuges, the thing you only build castles from if you are okay with a four year old kicking the walls in. Pink hair behind a pile of sand, and so far away...

And death again threatens.

She knows alien spacecraft well enough to recognize the powering of one's weaponry -- not that there is anything in that gathering green energy but destruction, even to the inexperienced eye.

Small Lady is too far away. The scream tears out of a voice hoarse with releasing them. Pluto runs, hopeless, desperate.

That's when Steven Universe saves them all.

She remembers the sound of that shield from the Water Clones, no combat clash but a bell's sweet song. The sand ripples beneath the rushing senshi, a wondrous shockwave tracing past between her strides and shifting the upper layer so that her next heel falls deeper into the dune.

The senshi stumbles, catches herself mid-step, and propels herself forward still. Again today, immediate death is averted. And again, she in no way feels that the danger is past. As the awful drama begins to unfold between Gems, she keeps running, keeps diminishing the space separating herself from Small Lady.

And this time... this time she makes it, dropping to both knees to let her boots eat the impact against the sand so that her forward motion halts entirely before her Princess. Sailor Pluto remains kneeling as she pushes her body upright, remains kneeling before her Princess.

"Small Lady," she says, "I am here." And there is, in her voice, a hesitance that her Small Lady has not heard before. It is the same thing that keeps Puu from simply reaching out with both arms wide. "I am here, and I will stand between you and whoever seeks to harm you."

Just then something terrible happens, something so terrible it even pulls the Guardian's head around from her chiefmost charge. A cracking sound... Sailor Pluto watches as Garnet bisects and then explodes. And then the cloud clears and she sees nothing left at all but two tiny sad fragments of the stoic woman.

Another foe falls, a guardian whose fists she remembers well, whose staunch valiance made an even more indelible impression than the denting of Pluto's chin. It is awful, and unthinkable, and somehow seems of a piece with this day full of awful and unthinkable things. With a heavy heart she turns back to Small Lady. The smile on the towering orange alien's face, the post-kill triumph, stays with her.

"Whatever it takes," she promises.

Sailor Pluto stands, dripping sand, and interposes herself between that precious pink girl and the dangers before them all.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Without the other senshi here yet, Sailor Mercury feels kind of alone. Even if she is aware of Kasagami and Pluto's presence, it's still not the same as having her friends here. She continues to monitor her communicator and the exchanges happening in front of her until things go terribly, terribly wrong.

Jasper mentions a rabbit and looks towards Chibi-Usa's hiding spot and Mercury frowns and whispers to Luna, "Jasper knows about her?" There is a lot of confusion in her eyes. For all of her book smarts this was way out of her league and even worse was that she didn't have any kind of answers to all the questions in her mind.

What Mercury knows more than anything is that Chibi-Usa is in even more danger than they realized and she has to act fast. With Luna in tow, she is running towards the hiding spot as the ship is getting ready to fire on the group. Still too far away, she braces, expecting something awful to happen. Her instinct leaves her protecting Luna.

When she opens her eyes, Sailor Mercury sees the brilliant pink shield and the tiny boy wielding it. "Steven..." She breathes out to no one in particular. If there wasn't still a threat, she would find time to be in complete awe of what just happened. However, there is little time for that as there is still a looming threat.

The words that are spoken make her lose her breath, the weapon Jasper yields is unlike anything she has ever seen and then in a flash Garnet is gone and Mercury feels a twinge of despair and even guilt. She may have come for a different reason but to see someone fighting for what they were just obliterated like that... she is at a loss of what to say.

Mercury swallows the lump in her throat and continues running towards Pluto and Chibi-Usa. When she reaches them, she looks to the smaller girl, "Chibi-Usa, we need to get you somewhere safe. Please stay with us. We can protect you!" Mercury's words aren't lacking in confidence although she may feel less confident than it appears as she steps beside Pluto with determination in her eyes.

<Pose Tracker> Cure Bloom [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB5B853j60I

Cure Bloom is marching in. She slowly draws her power back to her. The spirits of the world won't abandon their Pretty Cure. Time and again she's seen that. Even if Mai's not here...

...she's numb, mostly, as the light gathers. She feels the power at her fingertips. She swirls around her, the air igniting with magic as she starts to conjure together the best shield she has, teeth gritting at the mere thought of bearing this unfathomable strike. But the shield never forms, for they get a different miracle, this time. She watches that rose shield flare up, an impenetrable barrier, strong as the best Saki can bring to bear. The light doesn't even ruffle her hair, way up and feathered as it is. "Steven..." she breathes, and lets herself grin. Alright. They've got their shot. That's--

The blasts churn the ground up, sending sand and debris into the air enough that Cure Bloom has to throw her arm up to protect her eyes. "We've got to take out that thing!" she calls. She knows they have some strong blasters here. The concept that this thing might be beyond them doesn't even occur to her. She's faced defeat, once or twice. But never with these stakes. They'll pull through. They have to.

Jasper stabs Garnet through the chest, and Garnet immediately dies by corrosive explosion.

She feels it like a knife in her own. She doesn't know Garnet as well, but that....she just blew up, didn't she!? Her thoughts spin, crashing into each other in a useless jumble. Her gloves groan against the power in her clenched fist. It's Saki Hyuuga's great weakness, this moment where her doubts finally burst past her defenses and demand that she wonder if she's good enough. Strong enough, smart enough, pure enough, cute enough--

Usually it's Mai who drags her out of this. Mai isn't here. She has to rely on her own defensive tools, her own tendencies. Going back saves nobody.

Going forward can do something. Her boots stop shaking and start glowing, and Cure Bloom rockets off the ground with an ignition like a space shuttle, blasting sand away from her on contrails of magic, roaring toward Jasper with her mouth open, struggling to be scream over the sound of the air shrieking around her, fist cocked back. It's largely the same move she did against the ship, but, well.

When you're that good at punching things, you get predictable, maybe.

COMBAT: Cure Bloom has used Fistful of Flowers on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe counters 9 Fatigue damage from Cure Bloom's Fistful of Flowers, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Cure Bloom is
Psyched!  Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Destabilizer, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Cure Bloom!
<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo is moving faster now, picking up into a sprint, ignoring the pain shooting through his limbs as he rushes toward the line of friendly gems and the people clustered nearby. He can see them clearly now, make most of them out for who they are. Fate crosses into his vision again, along with Fuu, La Sirene, Sourisi.

He sees others too, making their way across the sand. Kasagami and Pluto makes his fingers clench tighter, and the shape of Mikoto and Miroku make his heart beat faster. All of them are threats-but there is one threat greater, one massive hand and three enemies that stand upon it.

That's where he goes. Toward the finger, towards rippling black, toward the end--

That does not come.

"Steven!" He cries.

<INCONCIEVABLE.> Fallen Stern warbles.

"Aaaa, Steven! You did it!" Endo is not sure exactly how Steven Universe did it-but his voice indicates that the act of doing it is very good, both awe-inspiring and joyful.

A joy that is short lived, as Garnet is shattered in two.

Garnet, a rock as much figuratively as literally, a Chevalier and ally. Someone Endo looked up to. Someone like Mami Tomoe. Gone, like Mami Tomoe. In the blink of an eye.

"No more." The words are choked, the first time. Gasped out as he breaks into a headlong run.

Fallen Stern burns again, contrails whirling behind it as Endo brings the weapon around in a brutal arc toward the orange gem. If they're here for war-that's what Fallen Stern was made for.



COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Meteor Absturz on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe fails to counter Endo Naoki's Meteor Absturz, taking 70 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Destabilizer, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Endo Naoki!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Garnet and Jasper clash, and one amongst them shatters. Kasagami's wild charge pauses for just a moment. The feeling of another enemy lost runs through her. First Mami, then Garnet? The thought begins to well up, though not with the guilt associated with Eri. At least, until she spies Steven.

Steven, that endured the attack that would have taken them all. Steven, that loves Garnet so much. Steven, that is so innocent and pure and is everything that Kasagami Araki thinks should make up a proper and true world. A world ruled by a King.

Steven, her friend, is suffering. Even if she was an enemy, Garnet was a beloved mother to Steven. The young man that has offered her so much care. So much belief, and has been nothing but a friend even after everything that has befallen her. Her charge pauses, and finally, a single steel grey eye meets Jasper's.

And then she leaps into the air, her blade held up. Teeth grind. And Kasagami Araki falls towards the one that has shattered someone so precious to a person she cares so much for. An alien, an invader, and a threat to the world she's so long desired.

For a moment, nothing matters, just the being that took something precious away from her friend.

She spins, and her blade falls, dark crimson roses fluttering behind her as she seeks to cleave Jasper in twain.

"SHATTER! Know the pain of this filthy world you've landed on!" Offers Kassie, her voice hoarse and eye full of fury.

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Falling Petals Cut The Soul on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe counters 26 Fatigue damage from Kasagami Araki's Falling Petals Cut The Soul, taking 26 Fatigue damage!
Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Destabilizer, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Kasagami Araki!
<Pose Tracker> Chibi-Usa Tsukino [Juuban Public School (5)] has posed.

Chibi-Usa can't help but watch Jasper's smirk, her awful statements, peering around the sand that she does not seem to realize--or be willing to accept--is as fragile as it is. ...She watches as they settle on Steven, a boy she knows. But--suddenly--

Red eyes widen as Jasper points her out, her heart catching in her throat as another being enters into what fear means to her.


She clamps her hands over her mouth to stay quiet. ...But the beam is coming. She can barely move--...The ring. The deafening, sonorous sound brings impact, brings a glow of a comforting color, and the shield... The shield--

"Aah--" The counterattacking beam impacts ahead of her, the blast powerful enough to knock her through the air even if it doesn't hit her. But it means that as Sailor Pluto arrives, Chibi-Usa is looking up at her, blinking, hearing that hesitance, hearing her vow again. ...And it means she has a front-row seat to what happens--to Garnet, hit by an energy, and suddenly--suddenly--


Chibi-Usa stares in horror as another defender falls, as she is just... gone. Gone. ...Gone, and these people know her, too, are after her too, which means--

So many counterattack immediately. Chibi-Usa doesn't even know who Garnet was, but she knows she is not there, and she scrambles up again, looking around, trying to find something, anything--

"Puu," she says, and it is only not a wail because it is so quiet. Sailor Pluto is there, defending her, and Sailor Mercury, even after she ran, approaches her. Somewhere... safe...

"No!" Chibi-Usa answers, shaking her head, and she finds that even with eyes squeezed shut she hasn't shed all her tears today. "You have to get out of here! They--You can't! You can't!"

It becomes clear that the fear in her eyes is not only for herself. No, it is for seeing, once again, the ruin that comes when this happens, a future replaying itself in her mind over and over again.


<Pose Tracker> Sourisi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Sourisi continues to urge sore muscles forward, legs pumping yet aching from the abuse she took just from a forcefield of sorts, but adrenaline keeps her upright and forward. Her bodysuit is scruffed, but the tonfa held in her hands still show now signs of damage despite the abuse they have already taken, and so her will to continue on. She can just now see the invading Gems close enough now to make details out, close enough to hear. Then the hand-ship moves once more on Peridot's command, making an almost comical pointing gesture if not for the immense amounts of energy building on the tip, and then a final word before the world around her goes dark.


Eyes clench shut and tonfa raise in an instinctive flinching motion, a futile attempt to protect herself from the blast directed upon them. Thankfully for her and all that stand upon this beach, Steven Universe is here, and he can do what no one else can in that desperate moment.

Protect them when they wanted to protect him.

The sound of Rose's shield causes Sourisi's eyes to open in shock, for if she can hear, she's not dead, despite what was sure to be her final sight upon Earth. Before her, before Mikoto, Fate and the Crystal Gems stands a small boy and his wonderous shield, the boy standing tall against the brunt of the energy blast and withstanding it.

As the blast and shield fade away, Sourisi continues staring at Steven in shock and wonder before he collapses in the sand, awe on her face. Steven Universe, the boy who never let life get him down and always seem to know what to say, was also Steven the Shieldbearer? "Steven-san...when-how?!"

A barrage of energy beams strike the sands, sending up more grains and smoke, leaving Sourisi unable to see anyone around her, but the explosions quickly fade, letting Jasper's and Lapis' voices cut through the obstructing clouds. One of the Gems seems to want to protect Steven, but the much larger one, the brute that ordered their destruction was not going to have any of that.

And she just called Sourisi's friend an 'it'.

The clouds part and Sourisi can see Steven, still unable to move from his heroic efforts to save everyone, and the brute that stands over him. The look of disgust on Jasper's face lay bare her intentions, ones that does not bode well for the revealed Half-Gem. But even as her instincts urge her to rush forward, before Sourisi's sore legs can push against the uneven terrain of the beach, Garnet is already there, giant fist rushing forward to meet helmet and rod.

And just like that, in a blink of an eye, Garnet is no more, two gems dropping to the grains before the victor.

It doesn't matter to Sourisi that she never knew Garnet until today. It doesn't matter that Garnet was a proud fighter, and she knew that by engaging Jasper, that she might lose. What matters is that Sourisi just saw a person, regardless of species, apparently die right in front of her in the defense of a defenseless friend. And in that moment, an unfamiliar emotion washes over the mouse girl's heart.


"You monster." A boot takes a step forward, a tail lengthens and grazes the sand. "She was a person, with a life and ideals, dreams and hopes." Another step forward, wood creaking under an iron grip. "And you just took it away, without a thought. You tried to take our lives, as we defend our home." Another step forward, then another as eyes look upward to gaze upon the giant's face. "Our lives are not playthings, and our bonds between our friends true. And I swear..." Slow steps turn into a run, then a leap upwards.

Logically, Sourisi knows what she is trying is insane, that she might just end up the same way as Garnet, that she might die. The tear-streaked face staring down at Jasper and aching heart of Sourisi has no room for logic at this moment, her tonfa raised to deliver blinded justice.


COMBAT: Sourisi has used Mouse Flurry on Hotaru Tomoe.
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe perfectly counters 22 Fatigue damage from Sourisi's Mouse Flurry, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!
Hotaru Tomoe's Reverse and Tactician abilities activate!
COMBAT: Hotaru Tomoe's counterattack, Destabilizer, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Sourisi!
<Pose Tracker> Hotaru Tomoe [Infinity Institute (7)] has posed.

Jasper deftly sidesteps Amethyst's attack, and grins at her. "Not in a thousand years, runt." The Magic Knight of Wind's whirlwind grasps one of her ankles, then, and while she's busy jerking out of it she's unable to avoid taking Fate's Haken Saber on the forearm instead of getting out of its way.

She grunts -- and her grin widens.

After that, she stops trying to dodge.

Practically embracing Les Mysteres, Jasper steps into Mikoto's swing... and brings in her crackling Destabilizer. It's like a sucker punch, it happens to land right over her heart, and a moment later the girl, the normal girl, is at her feet. The feeling is different for everyone, but the core of it is that of severance. Of disconnection. Of dissociation. Of something missing.

Also, it's incredibly painful and leaves the victim on the brink of unconsciousness, if they remain conscious at all.

Still keeping the terrifying weapon before her, she intercepts the majority of Cure Bloom's momentum on the haft of the weapon, but three in a row is too much and Endo scores a solid hit, confirming to all and sundry that this lady can take some serious punishment, because her grin widens and there's no particularly serious damage to be seen, just a sort of scorch mark across her chest. "Now this is what I came back to Earth for," she observes to him, blocking Kasagami's bisection attempt with the haft as well, and each of Sourisi's rapid strikes with its butt.

Coiling like a spring, she shifts her weight onto her back foot, about to explode in all directions. "My turn," she announces, she brags, she all but gushes--



"...Rubeus...do not give up hope...the Rabbit will appear at the seaside at sundown...head east, Rubeus..."

Rubeus nods at the animate cloak with a crystal ball also known as Wiseman, one of the rare few he will bow his head to, especially in gratitude.



--Space ripples, twists, distorts... as a second UFO appears above the first.

They're very, very different in design. First of all, the new one is vast, almost mothership-scale compared to the Hand as a sort of dropship or perhaps corvette. Also, it isn't humanoid. It's like an immense black crystal caught in mid-shatter like a fly in amber -- all jutting spikes and sharp edges.

It has a port in the underside, circular and quite large enough, as it irises open, to dock the Hand.

But instead, a man emerges. His red hair is almost as impressive a set of spikes as his UFO. Some know him as that guy who was totally willing to kill his underlings, the Four Ayakashi Sisters, in order to also kill the Rabbit and Sailor Senshi. Also he sicced a black hole on Jindai Botanical Garden.

Rubeus is bad news.

It is extra, double grim that he looks so delighted. Does the Black Moon Clan celebrate Christmas? It's come early. They've all come early. Every holiday.

He makes a grand gesture, and the UFO ejects an immense beam. This one is translucent, its blackness distributed through space... its energies not ejecting mass, but... warping it.


The entire fight is abruptly halted by the simple expedient of everyone being slammed, face-first, into the sand. It can be fought, but not quickly and not enough.

"GEMSTONE!" Rubeus calls downwards towards Jasper, who is the first to her feet by miles, for lots of reasons, none of them pleasant. Peridot is groaning. Lapis was already unconscious -- Jasper must have backhanded her for her insolence, on the way to Steven in the smoke. "WE ARE ALLIES!"

Jasper's expression is at first furious (how dare he interrupt her delivering of asswhooping), then incredulous, but finally she sees the aesthetics of the other ship -- and she feels what everyone feels.

The ships are different, so so different...

...but the power -- this darkness -- is the same.

Comprehension dawns in her eyes, and her grin returns. And then she takes a step forward. A normal step. Because her body is made of light, and given warning, she can adjust itself to any gravitational conditions, for ease of space travel.

And now she has done so.

Her boot sinks an extra couple of inches into the beach as she steps towards Steven. It takes her past Amethyst and Pearl, and she renders them both unconscious along the way through the simple expedient of a boot to each head.

"I was there, you know? At the first war for this garbage planet. I fought against your armies. I respected your tactics. But this?"

She picks the little boy up by his shirt, heedless of what the counterpull all around him does to his nerve endings. She's too busy raking her eyes over his chubby little body and DESPISING him.


Chibi-Usa is all but forgotten, now; Rose Quartz is a far greater prize, to her, than the death of any mere Rabbit.

And also she is awfully heavily guarded.

They are here all at once: grunting, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus voluntarily enter the gravity field, bones creaking as they alternately walk, stagger and crawl to make it to their sisters. Their hair -- all of them have enough of it to flow, normally -- looks like heavy rods weighing down on their necks.

"Mercury!" cries Jupiter. "Pluto!" grunts Venus.

"CHIBI-USA," screams Mars. "YOU HAVE TO -- ESCAPE --!"

But they can barely bear up against all of this power. How can their ward hope to do so?

All at the same time, the girls look to Sailor Mercury. Maybe it's telepathy. Maybe it's something simpler and more profound. But they all seem to get her idea simultaneously.

"VENUS PLANET POWER!" The first one is the hardest and the leader of the Inner Senshi takes it on grittily, forcing the words -- and the magic -- through her clogged throat, powered by her unclogged heart. It initiates in sparkles all around her.

"MARS PLANET POWER!" The Soldier of Flame and Passion is next, and somehow, someway, she is able to lift her chin to a defiant angle as she does so.

Their hands clasp, orange and red motes dancing around and between them.

"JUPITER PLANET POWER!" cries the Soldier of Protection, holding Rei in one hand and reaching out, fingers straining against the terrible pressure, in order to clasp--


There's one more senshi, though. Not their teammate. Sometimes an enemy.

In this, however, inseparably an ally.

In this their hearts are one. It is perhaps the only way such a miracle might be wrought.

"PLUTO PLANET POWER!" Garnet -- the color, not the person -- explodes out of the Guardian of Time to mingle with the blue and green and red and orange and... it isn't enough.

Chibi-Usa can stand, in this tiny eye of the gravity storm that they've created... but someone needs to drag her out.

It happens in a flash of golden odangos -- there's a collective sigh of relief from the five of them -- which transforms into fright as Rubeus snaps his fingers and flips the switch on his magical spell.

And everyone who has been pushed downwards... is drawn upwards. Jasper dances among them effortlessly, floating like a butterfly rather than like someone in a tractor beam, and her destabilizer nails magical boys and girls alike, destransforming them in droves, though occasionally someone is knocked out with an unfairly strong punch or kick instead -- they are helpless to defend themselves.

All the while, Jasper is talking to the child tucked under her arm.

"I don't get what you're planning, Rose. But look: your base is taken. Your armies are ruined. You have FAILED!"

The last thing he sees is her helmet, slamming him right in the face.

And the last thing anyone else sees is the darkness above, Rubeus cross-armed and grinning beside it like the cat who took the canary (he doesn't seem too perturbed by Chibi-Usa's temporary reprieve, perhaps because he now has custody of five of her guardian's teammates), as they -- and Jasper, and Peridot, and Lapis, and The Hand -- are drawn inside.

Except for the red stone and the blue stone. They can't see anything.

But they wink in the last hint of the setting sun... before they vanish within.

And also, except for Usagi Tsukino and Usagi Tsukino.

They see the UFO close... and ascend.


<Pose Tracker> Usagi Tsukino [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Feels Like The End - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nLc89KxYhs

Usagi Tsukino was riding a gleaming metallic behemoth across town, her fingers white knuckled as they gripped a pole for her to stay standing. Noone was at the Tomoe estate. It was empty when she got there ... leaving her in the same state she was in before she arrived - alone. That feeling of loneliness persisted in the train that was jam-packed full of people. Even as the people began to murmur, and gather to one side of the moving vehicle and pointing at the sky.

Even as her eyes lifted up... to see it. The green glowing hand... that from afar cast the sky aglow with wicked light. And the shape of something small drifting below it. So miniscule it might be mistaken for a small pink-haired mosqui-

Letting go of the pole she pressed herself against the train window, fingers smudging and smearing as she banged with her opposite fist in desperation.



Shed been frantic until the next stop. Shed gotten lost in the train station three times while trying to find the right line to take her in that direction. Full of apprehension throughout the ride. And when she arrived at the bay... she broke into a run.

Only to become exhausted swiftly. Huffing... and puffing... as her side burned in anaerobic agony. She didnt have the magic to become Sailor Moon... but that didnt mean there was no magic left in her. Raising a pen in the air she cried... "Moon Power! Change me into a beautiful Air Traffic Controller!"

The silverine light of the moon shone over her and when it cleared... she was in business casual. A navy blue pencil skirt, a white long sleeved shirt and tie. A pair of headphones- and a clip on badge indicating she worked for the airport.

Veering off to the side she grabbed the handlebars of someone who had stopped on their bike to gawk, "I'm very sorry sir! We have a real emergency here so Im commandeering your bike! That hand is impeding air traffic and I have to get out there to direct it to land!"

"Oh? Uh sure."

It was only after she pedaled off on the ten-speed that he realized - "Hey wait! Shouldnt you be doing that from a tower?! That doesnt make any sense!"

She didnt slow down. She couldnt slow down.

Mami Tomoe was dead... and all she could see in her mind was all of the Senshi dying again. Even having brought them back... death seemed so close, closer than ever. And maybe this time she wouldnt be able to bring them back.

Minakos words about the situation not being grim now felt like a confirmation. Even moreso as the hand lowered below her sightline. As a flash makes everything as black as night. "No-no-no-NO!" It felt like their doom was in the air - and she couldnt even be there. Followed by the ringing sound - that felt like the ringing of her ears as she tore off the headphones and threw them away. Abruptly she veered off towards a staircase down to the sands- and didnt stop.

Bumping all the way down - "Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-" its way down all the way before the front wheel struck sand and launched her over the handlebars where she faceplanted in the sand.

Normally the pain would be more than enough to flatten her, leave her immobilized and tearful. But right now her resolve forced herself to pick herself up with abraised palms, eyes stinging with tears. And she starts to run again.

The first sight of blue hair brings her eyes overwhelmed with tears of relief, "Mercury! Mercury-chan!" Its all she can do not to say Ami as she breathlessly pants... seeing that the other Senshi are there one by one all of them alright... all of them- even Chibi-Usa.

"Minna-!" She sounds so overwhelmed with relief. Which is why its so easy for it to be stolen away on this rollercoaster ride of emotion. Because you can see the moment hope starts to die in her eyes.

Because reflected in them is the crystalline mass of the second ship approaching. As a beam of intense darkness lances down - she is thankfully outside of it - as the light of the Senshi rises to meet it aglow with their guardian planets.

She should be there with them right now fighting this thing. But instead theres only one thing normal girl Usagi Tsukino can do to protect anyone right now. And thats to be the bunny of her namesake. A scared bunny runs. But right now she runs towards Chibi-Usa first into the eye of the gravity storm as the Senshi barely hold it back. Adrenaline infused - she leans down to simply scoop her up without breaking stride and to bring her out.

And she keeps running. She keeps running even as the press of darkness makes her head throb. The force tosses her away, and she clings tightly to Chibi-Usa - and upon impact the two are parted.

From the ground gets a front row seat to the Sailor Senshi being lifted in the air. Her eyes lift up to meet it - pupils dilating with shock. And then she screams. Its a scream of heartbreak, of loss. From someone who knows it. From someone who was taught it intimately on D-Point. It speaks louder than any words. From someone who knows that while its not the end - not yet.

It might as well be. And there's nothing she can do to stop it. She can only watch. Just like then.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Jasper steps into Mikoto's space, and the destabiliser bites into her chest even as Miroku bites into light. Energy lances into her obsidian heart, and no it tears and no pulses and NO it is agony and NO! it is breaking her and her heart - her heart - YOUR HEART -

"- Miroku-!"


Mikoto is thrown back, bodily, and her hands do what they should never do, could never possibly do, have never done since Miyu slammed into her with such overwhelming force.

They release.

Miroku goes sailing through the air, bites into the water of the ocean, sinks to the bottom with malicious weight. Mikoto is forced down so much closer to her enemy, so much closer to this new threat. Her breath comes in quick and hungry gasps as she struggles to stand. Her arms shake with the effort. She feels weak as - weak as -

- a normal girl, Mikoto realises, the horror dawning on her.

"Miroku," she chokes out the word as she calls her claymore back to her side, fear in her voice for the first time as she lies on the ground, looking up at Jasper.

But she reaches out, and she cannot hear it. She cannot hear it! She cannot hear Miroku! Miroku - Miroku does not come to her!

Mikoto's eyes widen and narrow to cat's slits, unnatural and terrible and completely, utterly focused on Jasper as she starts to hyperventilate. "Mi- Miroku!" She gasps, again, desperately. "Miroku, Miroku! Miroku!" Fear and horror grip her expression, her tone. "No! No, I can't be without - MIROKU!"

The Gem has done something, has severed her obsidian heart, has spilt that blood upon the ground and now she is nothing, nothing, nothing.

She is nothing compared to the fate of her blade. She must protect it always. It must always be with her. She must shield it from prying eyes and grasping hands. She cannot - she cannot -

Her eyes search, but laid prone against the dunes she cannot see far enough to see where it has fallen.

Mikoto struggles once again to right herself. She must - she must - she must - she must -

But it has done something to her, that destabiliser which tears so much more deeply than skin, and Mikoto falls to the sand once more and looks up at the still-battling form of Jasper through eyes rimmed with tears.

"Miroku," her voice is hoarse from despair, shattered in function if not in form, "please... please, not... Miroku... please... please..."

She does not see the dark crystal, in her grief. In this weak form, so utterly crushed by the removal of Miroku's familiar presence in the back of her mind, it takes very little to destroy her - the crushing force of gravity, at times her ally but now unquestionably her enemy, is enough. Unconsciousness is a mercy. Miroku lies beneath the waves, untouchable and unreachable, and it does not answer the call in her soul because it cannot. Their obsidian heart has been so brutally disrupted. It is a bond forged through ritual and experience and careful instruction, which should have lasted unbroken until her death...

And still they cry out, unconscious and unanswered, for they must always be together. Still they cry out - in vain.