When the doughnut-shaped spaceship finally landed on the third rock from the sun, (aka: Earth), the ship's sliding doors opened, a walkway appeared, and seven people filed down from the ship. Once the last person's feet were firmly on solid earth, the spaceship rose up into the air, spun around a few times, and was gone in a flash.
Sailor Pink rolled her eyes at the spaceship's flamboyant display and the blinding flash of light that had accompanied its departure. "Show off," she muttered. Pink turned to the other senshi, noticed what they were decked out in, and rolled her eyes again. "What were you guys thinking when you put on those outfits?"
Sailor Tange glanced down in confusion. She was wearing a ridiculously tight, black leather body suit. She looked towards the others. With the exception of Pink and Cranberry, that's what they were all wearing. "I thought we were supposed to be incognito."
"We are supposed to be incognito," Sailor Cranberry replied. "But not wearing something like that. I'm not sure which planet you're from, but I do know that here on Earth, you're going to stick out like a sore thumb."
"Or a hooker," Pink added snidely.
Now it was Sailor Boris's turn to be confused. "But we watched movies so that we'd be more informed about the strange customs of Earth. In one movie, women from another planet wore leather body suits to disguise themselves as hot chicks."
Sailor Cranberry frowned. "That's odd. What movie was this?"
"Dude, Where's My Car?" PerkyFluffyBunny piped up, obviously still charged on a sugar overload. Then again, she wasn't ever not overloaded on sugar. "And it was really, really, really, really, really funny."
"Well, we're not supposed to be disguised as hot chicks. We're supposed to be disguised as normal, every day teenagers," Sailor Pink said.
"Why?" Sailor Light asked. "What does that have to do with our mission?"
"I'm not really sure," Pink admitted. "As you know, Charlie appointed Sailor Cranberry and myself as the official leaders of the SODA POPS operation: Seek Out and Destroy Absent Princess and Overthrow Prevailing Sovereignty. The mission is both lucrative and highly dangerous."
"So dangerous, in fact," Cranberry continued, "that Pink and I have only been given enough information for us to carry out the operation, no questions asked. We know that we've landed in Loserville and that we must disguise ourselves as normal, every day teenagers and infiltrate Country Club High, the local high school."
"Ugh," Sailor ChibiS groaned. "We have to go back to highschool? Those were the worst six years of my life."
A girl with unnaturally colored blue hair pulled back in a high ponytail watched the group of girls as they walked, fully clothed, on flat ground under the new moon holding live chickens while rubbing the feet of red wax Buddha statues and hopping on both feet while reciting the Australian legend of the Lonely Platypus in French. Her name was Lisa Leanor. Her friends called her Kitty.
Lisa ducked behind a tree trunk when one of the girls, a tall brunette with short, spiky hair moved too close to her hiding spot. The tall girl, Vanessa, had apparently organized this weird summoning ritual, although she wasn't the group's official leader.
For more than three weeks now, Lisa had been following this particular group of girls around, studying their every moves from the shadows. She knew their names. She knew where they lived. She knew their secrets.
They were not your everyday run of the mill teenage girls. Oh sure, they went to school, never did homework, gossiped, and b*tched, just like all teenage girls, but there was something special about them that set them apart. They fought evil with powers gifted to them during the reign of the ancient Moo Kingdom, for one thing. They also possessed rather useful reincarnation powers, which would account for the fact that they had multiple past lives and would have many more in the future.
Lisa sighed dreamily. How she longed to join them in their arcane ritual. A month ago she had learned from a mysterious winged boy that she was also a descendant of the Moo Kingdom, a Sailor Senshi known as Meow. A week later he returned to her (this time wearing cardboard wings), and he told her to seek out the senshi living in Loserville and learn from them.
Ever since she first discovered the senshi's real identities, she longed to appear before them, no longer hiding in secrecy. But Lisa was worried about how they would act. She had it on good authority that as a whole, the senshi didn't like younger girls, especially the leader, Julie Kwaites. Lisa was a freshman, and the only thing the senshi hated more than freshmen were junior highers (which is of course what Lisa had been last year).
Lisa sighed again, only this time it was a sigh of resign. She would wait it out and keep hiding in the shadows until the time was right. If she could prove herself to the Sailor Senshi, then maybe they would accept her as one of their own. She hoped.
"This doesn't appear to be working," Bob whined as she paced back and forth, trying to keep her chicken under control while carefully rubbing the Buddha statue.
"Shut up!" Valerie whispered angrily. "And keep on reciting."
"I've already recited the legend three times!" Bob whined some more. "And now my feet are killing me. I think I have blisters. I want to sit down."
"Shut up NOW!" Valerie whispered loudly. This time, for emphasis, she swung her chicken around and hit Bob over the head with it.
Vanessa sighed and threw her own chicken to the ground. It stood up a moment later, only slightly ruffled and began running around, clucking madly. "I guess I was wrong, guys. Bob's right. This whole ritual is nothing but a big failure. Now we'll never see Chocolate again!" She wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye.
Special K shook her head. "Don't say that, Vanessa. I think the ritual will work fine, we just don't have enough strength right now between the seven of us. What we need is the power of the A$$ Penny and the Holy Milk Pail."
"In other words," Niki sighed. "We need Julie. Damn her for not being here! Where is she, anyway?"
"Julie left me a message on my communicator," Mallory said. "She had to, and I quote, 'deal with Gerg,' and then she'll, and I quote again, 'be right over.'"
"Arg," Vanessa muttered. "I can't believe she chose him over us. I mean, is one guy really more important than the fate of a banished friend?"
"Oh, you know how Julie sets her priorities," Mallory said grimly. "Anything big, hairy, and Itallian that looks (in her opinion) good in a tuxedo always comes first."
When Lisa heard that the senshi couldn't complete the ritual because there wasn't enough power between them to summon their friend Eva (or, Sailor Chocolate as Lisa discovered her secret identity was), her heart almost skipped a beat. At last! A chance to prove herself as a worthy ally!
When Lisa was about to step from her hiding place to reveal herself to them, a movement in the bushes stopped her. Someone else was there! Frantically, Lisa ran through her possible options. She could warn the senshi, but that would not only expose herself, but it would also draw unwanted attention to the senshi during their ritual.
Lisa decided instead to check out the cause of the movement in the bushes to determine whether or not the unknown persons were friend or foe. Quietly, she tip toed and peeked around the tree. The shock of what she saw nearly caused her to lose her balance.
No more than ten yards away, a group of seven girls stood huddled together, watching the senshi's activities in silence. Lisa breathed a sigh of relief that the senshi had chosen to perform the ritual in normal clothing rather in their sailor costumes. Their cover wasn't blown yet. Lisa crept closer so that she could hear their whispered conversations.
"Who are they?" one of the girls with pink hair quietly asked another girl with pink hair. "And what are they doing? Is this some strange human custom?"
The second pink haired girl shrugged. When she noticed a couple of chickens running around, she turned to the other two pink haired girls. "Now, don't you two get any ideas. If you start running around in circles again making obnoxious noises, then they'll notice us and wonder what we're doing out here in the forest in the middle of the night."
Lisa listened closely to what she said and took that into consideration. If they were enemies, then the fact that they might not be entirely stable could be used to her advantage. And it would even the score out more for the other senshi especially since stability was the one thing they lacked.
A green haired girl stepped away from the huddle and beckoned for the others to follow her. "I think we better keep an eye on them," she said, pointing to the ritualies. "But it's too dangerous here. I have a feeling we'll have a much easier time spying on them from the highschool, assuming of course, that they go there."
"Sounds like a plan," one of the pink haired girls said. "Just remember, no one must ever, EVER find out that we are Sailor Senshi. The success of our mission depends on it." Together, she and the green haired girl led the others deeper into the woods, away from Lisa's hiding place.
When they were completely gone, Lisa shook her head in amazement. More senshi!
It was a huge surprise, to say the least. The winged boy had specifically informed her that she was the tenth and last sailor guardian of Earth. If that much was true, than who the heck were these guys?
"What took you so long?" Special K asked impatiently the moment Julie appeared in a green beam of light.
Julie narrowed her eyes. "Don't ask. I was dealing with Gerg. He's been so annoying lately! He kept giving me lame excuses for why he never bothered showing up whenever we were fighting evil last season. I mean, we really could have used his help. If the B*tches hadn't finished themselves off, then we could have been in trouble!"
Mallory, not having any experiences of her own with guys, and therefore unable to share relationship related wisdom, said the only thing she could think of: "Sorry."
Julie shrugged. "Yeah, well I'm really fed up with him. I think it's time this relationship came to a bitter end."
Niki's eyes widened. "No! You can't mean--"
"Yes!" Julie said loudly. "I am going to break up with Gerg!" (Dum dum dum)
"You can't!" Valerie cried. "If you do, history as we know it will change forever!"
"And what's so bad about that?" Julie asked. "So, maybe Gerg won't help me rule the future Moo Kingdom. Big deal! I can handle it on my own. After all, I am the princess."
"But what about Alexia?" Vanessa asked.
"Who'll miss her? I admit I never liked the girl anyway," Julie sniffed.
"If Alexia were never born, then there's a good chance you never would have beaten Mr. Mister," Bob said.
"And we probably never would have escaped from Banjo and Kazooie land," Niki added. "Not that spending eternity with Mr. Walrus would have been such a bad thing."
"Oh damn it!" Julie yelled. "I hate it when you guys are right! I have no choice but to marry Gerg and have the world's most perfectly annoying daughter/son. I AM DOOMED!" she screamed.
At this moment, for no reason other than it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, Mallory, Niki and Valerie each began inching towards Julie in a bird-like manner while chanting, "Doom on you! Doom on you!" Needless to say, it was quite disturbing.
"Stop that!" Julie yelled. The three girls froze in their tracks. "It's really annoying!" She sighed. "Alright, I've accepted my tragic fate. Let's move on."
Vanessa handed Julie a copy of the legend of The Lonely Platypus in French (you can find anything on the internet) and filled her in on the key points of the ritual (like the chicken part). Ten minutes later, after the senshi had caught the renegade chickens they'd previously set loose, the ritual began again.
This time, it worked.
A bright burst of violet light filled the clearing in the woods as a screaming girl fell down from the sky and hit the ground with a thud. A moment later, a rather large staff followed, knocking Bob unconscious on its way down.
As Julie leaned over to help a bewildered Eva to her feet, the other senshi cheered. They rushed over to Eva's side, each one stepping on top of Bob in the process. "Eva, it's great to have you back!" they cried.
Eva could only smile and nod, a little overwhelmed. "Thanks?"
When Mallory arrived at school the day after Nutzi Tunz came to town, she could tell immediately that something was up. The hall buzzed with excited chatter and a large crowd had formed outside the school doors. Dozens of people craned their necks to catch a glimpse of what was going on outside.
Mallory walked up to Lalita who was near the back of the crowd, standing on tip toe and jumping up and down. She tapped the short girl on the shoulder. "Our lack of height is a real disadvantage in crowds, huh?"
Lalita spun around. "Hey, Mal! This crowd has been here since seven this morning. Everyone's waiting for Nutzi Tunz to show up."
"So, they're really coming to school here?"
"I told you that yesterday! I never get my information wrong." Lalita grinned hopefully. "Do you think they'll be in any of your classes? I really hope they're in gifted! At last my taking junior-level classes will finally pay off!"
The bell signaling the beginning of school rang. Students would have five minutes to get to class before they were counted tardy. Mallory looked at the anxious, but unmoving, crowd and glanced towards the doors. Still no band members. She turned back to Lalita. "If I were famous and if I were trying to avoid too much attention, I wouldn't show up in a limo, and I definitely wouldn't come through the front door."
Lalita looked at Mallory, a light dawning in her eyes. Mallory continued, "do you think that if they're just acting like teenage boys, you'd even be able to recognize them? I don't think I would. I barely caught a glimpse of them at the concert outside my house. They became famous so fast that teen magazines haven't even had a chance to print fold-out posters of the band members yet."
"So what you're saying is . . ."
"Simply that if they're smart, they're not going to be parading their stardom around school. They'll be dressed as normal teenagers and they'll probably be trying their hardest to just go unnoticed. I know that I for one wouldn't want people throwing themselves at me and asking for autographs every five seconds. It would get really annoying really fast."
Lalita, practically leaping up and down with excitement, gave Mallory a brief hug. "Thanks so much for the info! I really owe you!"
Mallory looked confused. "What info?" But Lalita had vanished. A moment later, Lalita's voice could be heard over the noisy crowd. "LISTEN UP, EVERYONE!" she yelled. Everyone fell silent. "CLEAR AWAY FROM THE FRONT DOOR. NUTZI TUNZ WON'T BE COMING IN THIS WAY. GUARD THE ENTRANCES IN THE E, S, AND SS WINGS. THEY'LL PROBABLY TRY TO PULL A FAST ONE AND SNEAK IN WHEN WE'RE NOT LOOKING."
No one moved. "COME ON, MOVE IT PEOPLE! DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE!" The crowd surged forward as one screaming mass. Mallory had to leap backwards to avoid getting as trampled as Niki was by yesterday's crowd. A moment later a bewildered Mallory stood completely alone in the empty hallway.
Only she wasn't completely alone.
No more than five yards away, a tall boy with shaggy dark brown hair stood watching Mallory. He had overheard her entire conversation with the other short, slightly stranger girl. The boy smiled shyly. He wanted to walk over and say hi, but he had a feeling that if he did that than his knees would turn to jelly half the way there.
Now's not a good time, he thought. Maybe tomorrow. I'll say hi to her in the hall. That shouldn't be too awkward. Silently, not wanting to draw the girl's attention, he turned and walked away down the hall. I can't believe I'm acting this weird about a girl. Then again, I've never really met a girl like her before. Not that I actually met her . . .
Mallory, with her superior Sailor Senshi sense perception, suddenly felt someone staring at her. In fact, that someone had been staring at her for an entire five minutes. She spun around and caught a glimpse of the back of a boy's head as he turned the corner. Scanning down, her eyes focused briefly on the piccolo-sized case the boy had in his hand. Then he was gone.
"I can't believe you're taking French again," Valerie said to Niki as they walked really slowly through the G portables on their way to third hour. "Especially after two of your old French teachers tried to kill you. I mean, what were you thinking?"
"Permanent lapse in good judgement. I wasn't thinking at all. But, at least the class can't be any worse than last year since Mrs. Evilb*tchfromhell mysteriously disappeared not too long ago . . . thanks to us, of course." Niki grinned happily. "Yep, this year French will be a breeze. In fact, I may even have a teacher that can speak the language!"
"Don't count on it," Valerie replied.
"Guess what! Guess what!" Rebecca yelled excitedly (and from out of the blue), running to catch up with the short juniors. She threw her book bag to the ground.
"What?! What?!" Valerie yelled, equally as excited.
"I have the latest dirt on Nutzi Tunz!"
"Uh huh," Niki nodded solemnly. "Well, maybe you should try and wash it off."
Rebecca shot Niki a look. She turned to Valerie. "I found out that two of the band members are taking French this year, and one of them is already fluent! I think that they're planning on doing a foreign language track on their next CD, or maybe they're going to tour in Europe or something. Isn't that so awesome?!"
Valerie rolled her eyes. "Words can not describe how very awesome that is."
Niki nodded in agreement. "French is bad. People who don't speak French are good."
"Well, fine then," Rebecca huffed. "Why are you guys so anti-French anyway?"
"It could have something to do with rude French men throwing various farm animals at us from behind castle walls," Niki said.
"Oh, but remember one of the cows landed on top of Bob and she died temporarily. That wasn't so bad," Valerie reminded her.
"True. Very true."
Rebecca looked confused. As did just about anyone else who ever heard tidbits of the Sailor Senshi's adventures as superheroes. Or read about them online.
The bell signaling the beginning of third hour rang.
"Ah!" Rebecca yelled in surprise. "Oh no! I'm going to be late for French! This is awful! What if I don't have a chance to get the seat right in front of the teacher's desk?"
"I'll pity the poor fool who sits there instead," Niki replied.
Rebecca hefted her overstuffed book bag onto her shoulder and started running down the portable walkway. "See you in French class, Niki!" she yelled over her shoulder.
"Arg!" Niki cried in agitation. "She had to remind me! And I was beginning to hope it was all just a terrible dream." She shuffled slowly towards the French classroom for a few seconds and then stopped. "Where are you headed?" she asked Valerie. "Maybe I can walk you there instead."
"Theatre, may God have mercy on my soul."
"Well, at least it's not in a foreign language," Niki pointed out. "But wouldn't it be funny and somewhat ironic if you were forced to do an entire scene in French; for example, something from like, I don't know, Shakespeare's Henry V? Then we could suffer together."
"God would never be that cruel," Valerie insisted. She sighed and waved goodbye to Niki. "I fear I must depart. Farewell, my friend."
Niki's shoulders slumped down even further than they were already slumped the minute Valerie disappeared inside the theatre room. Oh well, Niki thought as she took a deep breath and stared sadly at the door to French class. I've survived Nakodish. This Hell can't be much worse.
Closing her eyes to ease the suffering a bit, Niki reached out her hand to grasp the door handle. She hit her arm against a nearby pole instead. Rethinking her actions, Niki opened her eyes and tried again. This time, the door opened and significantly less pain was involved.
Satisfied, Niki slipped through the door and walked straight into Madam Deatrich.
Five minutes later, Niki sat in her desk, a numbed expression on her pale face, her eyes wide with fear. I must be in Hell, I must be in Hell, she thought over and over again in her mind, positive that there was no other logical explanation. This has to be Hell. Why else would Mrs. EvilB*tchfromhell be here?
Moaning, Niki beat her head against the edge of her desk multiple times, hoping that the physical pain would ease the pain that her fragile mental mind was feeling at that moment of realization. I am doomed to forever suffer as long as I am living. Please someone, shoot me now.
That would be a waste, a voice said softly.
Niki froze, her bruised forehead inches from her desk. I must be having hallucinations again. No more Diet Coke for me. Slowly, she lifted her head. Even though she was convinced that the voice she heard didn't really exist and that she was merely going insane due to her strained effort to not leap out of her chair and strangle a certain French teacher with her own bare hands, Niki decided to reply just for the hell of it. "Who said that?" she whispered questioningly.
I did. My name is Timm. Timm Buktu.
"Hi. My name is--"
I know who you are.
"Well, that sounded a bit stalkerish. Why can I hear your voice in my head?"
Because I'm telepathic.
"You throw up after every meal?"
No, that would be bulimic. I can read minds.
"Really? Cool. So can my friend Mal. Sort of. Okay, no, not really." Niki shrugged. "So, where are you, telepathic stalker boy?"
"That's impossible. You have to be somewhere."
No I don't. I don't actually exist.
"You mean you're invisible? Not to be biased or anything, but I really don't like invisible people."
I'm not invisible. I don't actually exist.
"Then how are you talking to me right now if you don't exist?"
I really don't know.
"Okay, whatever," Niki replied, not being one to dwell on anything that might require the use of her small portion of a brain. "So, you wanna go out sometime?"
Sure. Next Saturday night, seven o'clock, your place?
"Excellent!" Valerie said happily to herself (since she was used to no one else ever bothering to listen) when she walked into her fourth hour American History class. It was the only class she had this year taught by a real live superhero; and she was going to take full advantage of that little-known fact.
Despite his mild-mannered history teacher disposition, and his large amount of ancient wisdom (and equally large amount of ancient years), Mr. Werther was, in actuality, none other than the famed 80s superhero, Nervous Twitch Man (with the power to twitch his neck in a nervous and annoying manner).
I wonder if he'll give me an 'A' since I helped defeat the enemy and assisted in saving the world from Niki's evil clutches and all. Maybe I should point out the fact that I know his true identity, but that I'd be willing to keep that fact silent in exchange for a guaranteed good grade. Valerie grinned evilly but immediately stopped her planning when a little, Jimminy Cricket-sized voice echoed through her mind.
Don't do it! The voice cried. Blackmail is wrong!
I'm sorry, the part of Valerie's brain that would prefer sleeping to actually trying to do work replied (aka: the larger half). I am incapable of hearing you because I'm far too busy not caring. Hum hum hum, it hummed out loud to drown out the other, much more annoying voice.
You should be ashamed of yourself! The voice cried. And you call yourself one of the good guys!
Damn conscious. "Fine, you win," Valerie muttered. "Blackmailing is out of the question," she said as she glumly took a seat. "I can't ever have any fun."
"Pardon, were you talking to me?"
Valerie looked up in surprise. There were very few people who were willing to talk to her, mostly because of a certain ear-biting-off incident her freshman year. She was even more surprised (pleasantly so) when she realized that the boy who had spoken was cute. Really cute. He had longish curly brown hair, blue eyes, and (to Valerie's extreme delight), pointed ears.
"Pardon," the boy said again a few minutes later (and not without the slightest hint of a random European accent) as he shifted nervously in his desk. "But you've been staring at my ears for quite some time now, and I'd really feel much more comfortable having you in the desk so near to my left ear if you'd stop that now."
"Sorry." Reluctantly, Valerie dragged her eyes from the boy's ears and tried not to focus on the slight gap between his teeth. She looked instead at his gorgeous, crystal clear blue eyes. "It's just that I've never seen anything more breathtaking in all my life."
The boy grinned. "My eyes? I have been told in the past that they are rather lovely, but I've never --"
"No, no, not those," Valerie shook her head. "I mean, your eyes are kind of shiny and blue and all, but I was talking about your ears."
The boy looked stunned as he gingerly touched the pointed tips. "My ears? Really? You don't think that they're like, freakishly weird or anything?"
Valerie rested her head on her hand, a dreamy expression on her face. "I think they're amazing." Once again, she drew her focus from his ears and looked him in the eyes, a serious expression on her face. "Do you think that if we were to mate, our children would inherit your ear genes?"
The boy resisted the very strong urge to back away now (as well as the tiny voice he heard running through his head telling him to get the hell out of there). There was something about that girl that was a little off . . . okay, okay, a hell of a lot off, but he felt drawn to her for some unexplainable reason. And for once in his life, a girl didn't think that his misshapen ears were freakish and possibly contagious.
Maybe if she can accept that part of me, she can accept the other part of me . . . the part of me that changes with the moon, he thought silently. And maybe, just maybe, she can love me despite the two aforementioned abnormalities and the slight gap between my teeth I really should have had fixed as a child. The minute he decided to pursue a relationship with the odd girl was the moment that the boy's uncontrollable nervousness kicked in.
Whenever he got into a heightened emotional state (usually involving a girl or crunchy peanut butter), the boy would find himself to be so incredibly terrified of saying something that might scare off a potential future love that he would be completely unable to say anything at all in the English language.
Which is how he had become so fluent in French, as crazy as that may sound.
"Je m'appelle Elfyn," the boy stuttered nervously. "Et toi?"
This time it was Valerie's turn to freeze. Damn it! It had to be French! Completely unable to recall a single French phrase that she had learned the year before (probably because she hadn't actually leaned any), Valerie blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "Je me lave avec ma vache!" God damn reflexive verbs! She cried silently the minute she realized what she had said.
Elfyn looked stunned again. This girl was totally full of surprises. Wow! She washes herself with her cow? That's insane! Which was true. But despite the girl's somewhat odd methods of personal hygiene, he couldn't help thinking how brave and completely confident she must feel about herself to be able to reveal such a personal piece of information to a complete stranger. Which is exactly what he looked for in members of the opposite sex.
Elfyn smiled. I think I'm in love.
"That wasn't exactly the point I was trying to make," Valerie said apologetically. She looked down at her desk, trying to think of something else to say. Silence. She looked up, once again focusing on Elfyn's sexy pointed ears. She said the first thing that came to her mind. "So, you wanna go out some time?"
"Sure. Saturday night, seven o'clock, your place?"
Mallory hummed happily as she skipped into the band room later that day, her piccolo case swinging by her side. Ever since that morning when she had noticed the mysterious person staring at her in the hallway, Mallory had looked forward to finally being able to identify the stranger. It shouldn't be too hard, she thought. After all, how many people at this school could possibly play the piccolo?
As she headed towards her usual seat, Mallory gasped in shock. No more than five feet from where she stood (mouth open in horror), two dozen people were sitting in fold-out chairs, each one holding a piccolo and a case identical to the one she had seen this morning.
"Attention students," the band teacher announced loudly over the noisy teenagers, drawing everyone's attention. "Today, we have some very special guests visiting us from the United Piccolo Society (UPS - not to be confused with the mail transport service of the same name), a human rights organization which strives to better the world through community service and the emotional healing power of piccolo music. Please give them a hand."
Moaning, Mallory sank into her chair as the rest of the class applauded politely. This is unbelievable! She screamed silently. The one day that I come to this class trying to find a specific piccolo player (which is normally not so hard to do), is the one day that every freaking piccolo player on Earth comes to visit!
"AHHHHHHHHHH!" Mallory screamed out loud in frustration. The room was suddenly very quiet. The jaunty tune that had filled the air only seconds before came to a sudden end as the members of the UPS stopped playing suddenly, the piccolos still pressed up against their faces. Everyone in the room turned angrily towards Mallory, waiting for an explanation for her oh-so-rude interruption.
"Eh . . . heh heh heh," Mallory laughed nervously as she racked her brain for a plausible explanation. "Cockroaches?" she finally articulated. "Lots of them?"
The room interrupted into screams and wild pandemonium as the girls leaped onto the desks and the boys quickly took off their shoes, ready for the oncoming slaughter, as well as the chance to impress the hysterical girls.
Seeing this as her one chance to get the hell out of there without anyone really caring, Mallory ducked down and made a mad dash for the exit. Once safely outside, she leaned against the wall by the water fountain and breathed a sigh of relief. Finally! I have the chance to be entirely mortified by what just happened where no one can see me because I'm alone. Except that she wasn't.
Mallory looked to her left and saw the back of a familiar head. Could it be? she wondered excitedly as her heart skipped a beat. As she watched, the mysterious boy turned slowly around and as he did, she caught a glimpse of the piccolo case swinging from his hand. It is! It's the mysterious stalker! Mallory made a face. Or is that me?
"Er . . .hi," the boy said nervously.
"Er . . .hi," Mallory said back, equally as nervously.
"My name is Me . . .gami. Megami Sama."
"I'm Mal. Mal Leigh."
He smiled. "Really? That sounds very Asian. Are you of Chinese descent?"
"Oh, no. That's just what my parents, S and M . . ." Mallory blushed. "I mean, Steve and Mindy Leigh named me."
"Oh, I see." There was a long stretch of awkward silence, as there usually is when two people who are really lousy at the flirting thing try and flirt anyway, despite possibly tragic consequences.
"Want to go berry picking?" Megami blurted out suddenly.
"So, you wanna go out some time?" Mallory blurted out at the exact same time.
"Sure," Megami replied. "Saturday night, seven o'clock, your place?"
"Arg!" Eva cried jealously as she walked home from school with Valerie, Niki, and Mallory, after her fellow senshi had filled her in on their various encounters with love earlier that same day. "You guys suck!"
"Why?" Mallory, always the oblivious one, asked with surprise.
"Well, you guys have been back at school less than a week and you already have dates with three, and I quote, "extremely hot guys." I've been back less than a day, and all I can say for my life is that I'll have my weekends permanently booked . . . working at Winn Dixie!"
Valerie winced. "Ouch. So, Slave-a-Center wouldn't hire you?"
"They said I didn't have enough work experience," Eva growled, snarling her lips. "But that's not the point," she added quickly. "The point is that, despite what some popular Japanese cartoons may imply, it is completely impossible for someone who has been guarding the doorway through time for as long as I have to travel to this dimension and expect to find a job as a chemist or physicist . . . or whatever kind of scientist that works with plants or bacteria or whatnot." She took a breath and continued. "Oh no, in the real, non-animated world, if a guardian from another dimension wants to get a job, she has to start at the bottom!" Eva hit a tree with her large stick for emphasis.
"At least it's not McDonald's," Niki pointed out.
"Okay, fine then. Near bottom." Eva sniffed sadly. "Extreme bottom or not, someone who has lived as long as I have and who has safely protected this dimension from harm . . . most of the time, deserves at least more than minimum wage!"
"Omigod, we like, totally feel for you, sister," Mallory said sympathetically, patting Eva's arm.
Everyone stared at Mallory.
"Oh no!" Mallory cried a second later, her eyes wide with terror. "I didn't just say 'like,' 'totally,' and 'sister' in the same sentence, did I?!" The others nodded solemnly. Mallory groaned in agony. "Sammi's gotten to me again! And it's only going to get worse!"
"What's your sister up to this time?" Eva asked.
"She's on the dance team at the junior high," Mallory replied sadly. "She and the other dance team members have been having a lot of sleepovers . . . at my house."
This time, it was Mallory's turn to have her back patted. "We totally feel for you," Niki said. "And though I may sound sarcastic, I'm really not. My sympathies to you, my poor, poor, poor friend."
"It could be worse," Valerie said cheerfully, always one to look on the negative side of life and then compare it to current situations. "At least Sammi's not a highschool cheerleader."
"Yet," Mallory prophesied glumly.
Not too far away, Bob trudged silently home from school alongside the highway. Completely and utterly alone. For the past several days, Bob had been under the impression that the other senshi were trying to avoid her at school. That very afternoon, when she had stood directly in their path, waving wildly in the air and calling their names, the second they walked past her, pretending that she wasn't really there, Bob's long seated suspicion was proved to be true.
They really, really, really didn't like her very much. At all. In any way. Whatsoever.
I just don't get it! Bob said to herself since there was no one else around who would have listened. Or cared. At all. I'm perfect. Why would anyone not like me? Unless . . . she stopped walking as a light in her brain (one that had been dim for a long period of time) suddenly came on. Unless my perfectness threatens them! Well, what else could it possibly be? I suppose I could try to be a little less perfect to make them feel better about themselves, but that might really be a challenge.
As Bob stood on the edge of the road, pondering possible solutions to her lack of friends issue, she caught a glimpse of a figure hurrying her way out of the corner of her eye. Bob turned to get a better look and a girl with blue hair came into focus.
Bob frowned, wondering what the girl was doing jogging across the highway. The girl obviously didn't see the car that was speeding towards her at 60 mph, because if she did, then she would have started running like hell. She didn't. She didn't see the car.
Bob saw the car. And while many people in Bob's position would have tried to warn the girl crossing the road of the imminent danger, Bob didn't. She stood on the edge of the road, completely paralyzed with fear. Oh my God! I should do something! But I am completely paralyzed with fear. Everything's happening in slow motion. She's going to die! Well, better her than me.
At that moment, something shoved Bob from behind, sending her careening towards the girl. And the oncoming car.